Track OER - challenges & lessons

NOTE: a work-in-progress!

Cloud created by:

Nick Freear
14 August 2012

We'll be documenting the various challenges we're experiencing, and the lessons learnt.

Re-purposing analytics software (Google Analytics, Piwik)

Problem type: technical/ user-interface

Problem: Analytics tools are conventionally used in scenarios where the person viewing the reports knows the URL where the pages reside. In trying to track OER re-use, we present a different scenario where the destination URL is unknown (and the server component is variable).

Solutions: For Piwik, creative use of the 'url' and 'urlref' parameters in the tracking API. For Google Analytics, creating and documenting custom reports, which reveal for example the destination 'hostname' (not reported by default).

Acommodating the OpenLearn test and release cycle

Problem type: technical/ management

Problem: We are demonstrating the Track OER technologies on OpenLearn-LabSpace, and this needs some technical changes to LabSpace, which need testing before deployment.

Solution: Schedule testing early, plan, liase with OpenLearn colleagues.

Lessons learnt – short intense projects can be productive

"towards of the end of the project, a list of lessons that someone like you would find useful"

Like many development teams we are currently very busy, so we planned the development for Track OER as a classic "short intense" project (aka, short fat project) (KENDRICK, Tom. (2011). 11. How should I manage short, complex, dynamic projects?. In: - 101 Project Management Problems and How to Solve Them: Practical Advice for … -: Amacom. p28.). Having a developer working at nearly 100% on the project in a relatively short burst (first commit 8 or 9 August – development tailing off in the third week of September 2012) (Project activity graph on Github) proved to be effective. So one of my big lessons learnt is that scheduling a short intense project, with planning and preparation beforehand, can be a good idea.

Project activity graph on Github

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