Welcome to the Wales Wide Web

    October 25th, 2007 by Dirk Stieglitz

    Wales Wide Web is Graham Attwell’s main blog. Graham Attwell is Director of the Wales based research organisation, Pontydysgu. The blog covers issues like open-source, open-content, open-standards, e-learning and Werder Bremen football team.

    You can reach Graham by email at graham10 [at] mac [dot] com

    Wales Wide Web

    Student satisfaction unrelated to learning behaviour and academic performance

    March 13th, 2018 by Graham Attwell

    I seem to spend a lot of time lately moaning about bad data practices. About approaches to learning analytics which appear to be based on looking at what data is available and the trying to think out what the question is. And particularly over the different proxies we use for learning.

    So, I particularly liked the report in THE of the inaugural lecture by Professor Rienties at the UK Open Universitity’s Institute of Educational Technology. Professor Rienties outlined the results of a study that examined data on 111,256 students on 151 different modules at his institution. He found that student satisfaction, one of the most common used proxies for learning and achievement, is “unrelated” to learning behaviour and academic performance. According to THE:

    Significantly higher student satisfaction was found in modules in which students received large amounts of learning materials and worked through them individually, than in courses where students had to collaborate and work together.

    However, the best predictor for whether students actually passed the module was whether there were collaborative learning activities, such as discussion forums and online tuition sessions.

    Students who were “spoon-fed” learning materials also spent less time in the virtual learning environment, were less engaged, and were less likely to remain active over time than their peers engaged in more collaborative activities.

    Leave a Reply

    The slow cancellation of the future

    March 12th, 2018 by Graham Attwell

    leeds-ucu-strike-christianhogsbjergWriting in the Guardian, Becky Gardiner, a senior lecturer at Goldsmiths University in London, explains why she is on strike. Although the strike in the UK universities is now into its fourth week and is ostensibly abut cuts to pensions it raises wider issues’

    ‭Becky says:

    My favourite banner on the picket line reads “Against the slow cancellation of the future”, a phrase popularised by the late cultural theorist, Mark Fisher. In the grip of neoliberalism, we begin to believe that there is no alternative, Fisher told us.

    In universities, this slow draining of hope began with the introduction of tuition fees in 1998, and gathered pace when they were tripled in 2010. Successive governments, enthusiastically aided by overpaid senior management drawn from outside the university sector, have turned higher education into a utilitarian and consumer-driven activity that students buy in exchange for skills for the job market.

    The latest idea coming from the UK Department for Education (DfE) is to introduce a ratings system would which would allow students to make “consumer-style comparisons of degree courses.” Subjects will be given a gold, silver or bronze award, and details will be made available about post-degree employment prospects, potential earnings and dropout rates, according to the DfE.

    The problem for DfE is that for all their efforts educations is not a consumer good. And statistics suggest that the best indicator of potential earnings comes not from which university or indeed which subject is studies but is dependent on the social class that the student comes from. So those courses with more upper class students will have the best post employment prospects, presumably attracting more upper class students and reinforcing their positioning in the consumer style ratings. The slow cancellation of the future seems to be speeding up.

    Leave a Reply

    Open Leadership

    March 9th, 2018 by Graham Attwell


    I like the open leadership map white paper released by the Mozilla Foundation. Mozilla say:

    Open Leadership is the “how” of our work. It’s how we accomplish our work in communities, organizations, and projects. open leadership encompases the processes and resources we use to support Internet health for everyone’s benefit.

    Open leaders “work open.” They work collaboratively, sharing the ownership of ideas, resources, and outcomes with contributors, while building powerful, diverse communities to support and direct projects and organizations. They also set the conditions for others to do the same, ensuring accountability, equity, and transparency in a project and its community.

    Unlike the now familiar competency frameworks Mozilla poses their map as a process, based on design, build and empowerment.

    This Open Leadership Map suggests areas of focus you can concentrate on during your open leadership journey to achieve these goals. To use the map, consider your objective(s) and look at the principles, actions, and embedded skills that might best help you reach your goals.

    open leadership

    Mozilla is presently is asking for peoples’ opinions and ideas about the map.

    Leave a Reply

    Pontydysgu SL

    March 7th, 2018 by Graham Attwell

    Regular readers may know Pontydysgu have been involved in different European projects around the use of technology in education, the training of teachers and trainers and careers advice and counselling (amongst others) since 2000, working with partners from virtually every EU member state.

    Obviously the decision of the UK to leave the European Union has a major impact on our work. Although we have had offices and employees working in Germany and Wales since the company was founded (and more recently in Spain), Pontydysgu is registered as a UK company. Therefore, we have set up a new company – Pontydysgu SL, registered in Spain.

    We will continue to maintain the UK based company. However if you would be interested in working with us on European projects through our Spanish company we will be very happy to talk with you. Pontydysgu SL will build on the outputs and work of the UK company and the expertise of staff from Pontydysgu Ltd. will transfer to the new Spanish company. We are now working on establishing a Spanish web site and in making the outputs of our work available through this site. Over time we will be relaunching this web site as to reflect our new direction.

    If you are interested in being a partner with please contact graham [at] mac [dot] com

    Leave a Reply

    Are job algorithms good enough?

    February 22nd, 2018 by Graham Attwell

    We’ve all made jokes about the jobs that various ‘professional’ social networks recommend for us.  This morning I had a message from ResearchGate:

    LinkedIn is no better. Here are tworesearchgate jobs it recently found for me:


    Goodness knows how they  vaguely thought I was qualified for these jobs. But never mind – it is only the usual nonsense form free social networks, we think. But it does matter. These reconsiderations come through algorithms. And nearly every Public Employment Service I have talked to is either trialling or considering trialling software which matches applicants to jobs. OK, the algorithms may be better written. And probably the employment services have more data on both applicants and jobs that has the likes of ReseachGate and LinkedIn. But in seeking to provide a better service at less cost through the use of technology the employment services are ignoring that many people need guidance and support when seeking employment form qualified professionals. Taking a job is not like ticking a like on a social website.  It involves serious decisions which can affect peoples futures and the future of their family.  And, at the moment, Artifical Intelligence is not enough for helping in those decisions.

    Leave a Reply

    Personal Learning Environments on Serbian TV

    February 21st, 2018 by Graham Attwell

    I don’t suppose so many of the readers here speak Serbian. And that is a shame since this fantastic fulm made by Serbian TV at the conference and workshop on “Are We lost in Online Space?” brilliantly picks up the energy and ideas from the 50 or so youth workers, mainly from east Europe, who attended the two day event.

    I was interviewed about Personal Learning Environments, one of the central themes for the conference. And in the first section of the video you can see the participants in a workshop drawing their own PLEs.

    Leave a Reply