DS106 By the Numbers

I’m not a huge one for quantitative data when it comes to education. I know that numbers often mask the truth of the story behind what’s happening in a class or in a particular student’s experience. But, at the same time, I think it’s important to gather that data (whenever possible) and to TRY to understand what it might represent. Not because it contains within itself some universal truth about the experience of learning, but because it often points us towards interesting questions (more fundamental, qualitative questions) about what it is we’re doing.

To that end, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time over the last few weeks and days looking at various sources of data about DS106.

  • Off and on this semester, I’ve been working on a comment analysis tool that allows Jim and me to visualize the commenting activity throughout the DS106 universe. I’ll be blogging the technical side of this, hopefully later today.
  • A few weeks ago we put out a Google form asking open DS106ers to answer a few questions, including where they’re located. I used that form data to create a map of the DS106 players.  (See Below)
  • Thanks to the use of open Web tools and environments, we can easily gather information about the number of Flickr photos, YouTube videos, and Delicious bookmarks created by DS106 participants.
  • We’ve been tracking the main DS106 site in Google Analytics since the beginning, so we have some data about the traffic that’s been generated by the course activity (in that space). I’ll try to summarize this in a future post.
  • We also have, of course, information from the main DS106 site about the number of posts written (3,530 as of this morning), categories (2,093 as of this morning) created, and storytelling assignments submitted (124) (and completed– this gathering this info).
  • Jim working on gathering together some information about the number of programmed radio shows and TV shows that we’ve generated out of DS106.

As I assemble each of these pieces this week, I’ll link each of the above to wherever the data lies. In addition to being an open course, I think we need to make public as much consumable data about participation in the course as possible.

Isn’t that what real accountability in education should be about?

So beyond the things mentioned above, what data about DS106 would you like to know more about? Or do you have any to contribute?

The Map


4 thoughts on “DS106 By the Numbers”

  1. *That’s* why you’ve not been blogging. I apologize, you have been a busy number cruncher…. I will un-blowup the Fish Wrapper blog.

    Let’s rope in Tony Hirst! It’s too bad the flickr api changes took twapperkeeper offline- can we get to data on the twitter tag activity? I’m thinking of some of those affinity digrams tony has been created to extract patterns in the pile.

  2. I’m curious to see how the location of ds106 participants in each iteration of the course changes over time. I’m also curious if you could determine the relationship between each participant and the course. For example, student A found out about the course from Student B who told their mate Student C. Why would this be useful? Not quite sure, but it would be interesting to track how the course ‘grows’. I’m sure this data could be used for ‘diabolical scheme’, but if the data gathering is open and consensual it might be ok. Just thinking out loud.

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