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About this web site

November 11th, 2007 by Graham Attwell

Despite one erroneously dated back entry, which, for an hour until I corrected it, indicated I was in Houston, I have enjoyed two weeks of not traveling. And that has left me with enough time to work on developing this site. And after two weeks it is worth a quick reflection on how the site is doing.

Firstly I am gratified with the number of visitors. Firtsly as far as i can tell most regular readers have diverted their feedreaders from the old World Wide Web bog to our new address at Pontydysgu. Secondly, visitor figures seem to be very respectable (although I am not quite sure what respectable means in this case). Of course, we were boosted by a reference in Steven Downe’s OL Daily, which resulted in a quick flurry of hits.

More importantly perhaps, Dirk Stieglitz has made great progress in bringing on-line new sections of the site. Multimedia is mostly live. Some of the projects section is partly populated. Now we are thinking about how to deal with the research section.

At a technical level, we still have a few glitches. WordPress stubbornly refuses ot show us thumbnails of uploaded graphic files (anyone any suggestions?). The categories list which we use to allocate the entries ot different parts of the web site is growing alarmingly long and we can find no way of displaying sub lists. Widgets are working but we cannot find proper ways of dynamically styling the contents. Any help with any of these issues will be gratefully acknowledged.

But the site is developing in the direction we intended. We particularly wanted a web site which is dynamic , which incororates multi media, which can be updated frequently with minimum programming effort and which allows us to show the relation bewteen out research and ideas and the day ot day work we are undertaking, particualrly on projects. And we wanted a site which connects with the wider community of practice. In this respect, the number of comments on different post has been very gratifying.

Over the next week we will continue to bring the projects section online. And I will continue to enter back posts from Wales Wide Web. This is particularly tedious. I am uploading them from Ecto. This uses a small Apple script to reset the date to the original. But of course the categories all have to be re-entered and Ecto crashes on some entries, those with attachments or multi media which it does not know how to handle. We will also be incorporating more feeds, from delicious and possibly from aggregators around the different project topics. Hope you are enjoying the site. And if you have any suggestions how we can improve it do not hesitate to put forward your ideas.

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    Open Educational Resources

    BYU researcher John Hilton has published a new study on OER, student efficacy, and user perceptions – a synthesis of research published between 2015 and 2018. Looking at sixteen efficacy and twenty perception studies involving over 120,000 students or faculty, the study’s results suggest that students achieve the same or better learning outcomes when using OER while saving a significant amount of money, and that the majority of faculty and students who’ve used OER had a positive experience and would do so again.


    Digital Literacy

    A National Survey fin Wales in 2017-18 showed that 15% of adults (aged 16 and over) in Wales do not regularly use the internet. However, this figure is much higher (26%) amongst people with a limiting long-standing illness, disability or infirmity.

    A new Welsh Government programme has been launched which will work with organisations across Wales, in order to help people increase their confidence using digital technology, with the aim of helping them improve and manage their health and well-being.

    Digital Communities Wales: Digital Confidence, Health and Well-being, follows on from the initial Digital Communities Wales (DCW) programme which enabled 62,500 people to reap the benefits of going online in the last two years.

    See here for more information


    Zero Hours Contracts

    Figures from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in total almost 11,500 people – both academics and support staff – working in universities on a standard basis were on a zero-hours contract in 2017-18, out of a total staff head count of about 430,000, reports the Times Higher Education.  Zero-hours contract means the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours

    Separate figures that only look at the number of people who are employed on “atypical” academic contracts (such as people working on projects) show that 23 per cent of them, or just over 16,000, had a zero-hours contract.


    Resistance decreases over time

    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time


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