Data, data everywhere, but ne’er time to think: identifying patterns in user behaviour across changing open media channels

The Open University has made its open educational resources (OER) available through a number of different ‘open channels’, or websites in different formats. The investigation of mass and individual user activity is not always straightforward with the same ‘content’ on different channels. Equally, it is also not always straightforward to chart trends in activity over time when the site is also subject to many functional and content changes in response to internal and external feedback. Nevertheless this paper examines and discusses two aspects of user behaviour and how we try to make sense of it. The first aspect is the number of activities that can be viewed as evidence of collective or collaborative behaviour on and between channels which have or have not been sustained and grown over time. The second aspect is the journey that users take between informal learning as represented by our open media and formal learning as represented by our taught courses (and vice versa). From the patterns in the data some tentative conclusions are drawn as to the major factors that drive or inhibit such collective and/or collaborative behaviour and how we might characterise these varying communities of interest or practice.
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OER13: Creating a Virtuous Circle
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