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University website editors to learn how to use statistics

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Karin Joly (Canada), Internet marketing expert and founder of Higher Ed Experts blogger collegewebeditor.com , author of the Technology column at University Business (USA), has organized a new project on higher education’s online work and called it The Higher Ed Online Analytics Revolution.
The goal of the project is to bring together key statistics on visits to institutions’ websites so that you can pull from the experiences of your peers, compare accurate data, and be able to justify your work with specific numbers.
Undoubtedly, another goal could be to involve those who are still far from it in working with statistics. Although in western universities specialists in working with the Internet is not at all new – here there are permanent, not hired for the time of development of the site editors, content managers, specialists in social media, but analytical work on user interaction with the site is not always carried out.
According to a May 2010 Joly survey of 399 Web professionals working in higher education, although 95% of respondents track Internet statistics one way or another, 72% of respondents spend less than 2 hours a week on statistics, and this includes the 8% who do not work with site traffic reports at all. Perhaps, Jolie suggests, sharing statistics will revitalize higher education, and create a platform for future change.
Data will be collected monthly, participants who have registered to share data will fill out a questionnaire stating their statistics for the previous month. Google Analytics statistics are chosen as the basis, and detailed explanations next to each item in the questionnaire, accompanied in some cases by videos, will help to cope with the collection of data even those who have not yet perfected their webanalytical skills.
In contrast to our Western colleagues, who willingly use free but completely non-transparent Google Analytics, this idea is not so revolutionary for Russian higher education. The vast majority of Runet sites use free online statistics whose data are displayed directly on the buttons installed on the site. Even if the administrator of the resource closed access to detailed statistics, there are still loopholes through which you can find out some details. In addition, many administrators of sites of universities gallantly leave detailed statistics available to all comers, so that the opportunity to compare their work with the work of competitors in "our" Internet you can always find.
But… there are times when there are just no people who can analyze the statistics report in detail, make the necessary conclusions and make adjustments in their work. Often there are enthusiastic teachers whose work profile is far from the Internet, and only the desire to bring light to the world justifies their workload on the site. Often the website of the university or faculty is created by the company-developer, and then passes into the hands of all the same enthusiasts, engaged in their spare time publishing news and answers to the questions of applicants. And, strange as it may seem, there are still sites created by students as a term or diploma work. True, after a student receives a diploma, they quickly disappear from the horizon.
I guess I’m not a frequent representative of the lucky ones who are engaged in the site in the university as a primary, not an additional load. In my work I have to constantly be guided by statistics – although it is not the most obvious indicator of the effectiveness of the site, but often the planning routine depends on it. All the statistics of domestic colleagues I have studied for a long time.
Unfortunately, the sites of Russian universities are still at very different levels of development, and therefore it is difficult to compare their statistics and make on its basis any valuable conclusions. It is impossible to compare a site that is well updated with a site where the news is frozen in the last half of the year. We do not yet have internal standards for understanding what a university website should look like, why it works, for whom. And it is not even about the fact that the site should have a section for applicants with mandatory information about the provision of dormitories, but that so far not all employees of domestic universities are ready to accept the fact that the age of boards with paper notices is a thing of the past, and their current students prefer to look through a network schedule, and even from a cell phone … "there", on the other side of the planet, now believe in this much more people.
So, the "analytics revolution" began in the Western hemisphere on August 11, and in our hemisphere, although it’s already August 12, but we too can make our own revolutionary contribution to the development of higher education on the Internet. And it’s not the only chance – the statistics will be collected monthly, starting on the second Thursday of the month.
It took me about half an hour to enter the statistics into the questionnaire and the form was sent back. The results are promised in two weeks.
Do you support the university’s website, too? Join in!

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