OUseful.Info, the blog…

Trying to find useful things to do with emerging technologies in open education

Posts Tagged ‘SocialLearn

So Where Am I Socially Situated on Google+?

I haven’t really entered into the spirit of Google Plus yet – I haven’t created any circles or started populating them, for example, and I post rarely – but if you look at my public profile page you’ll see a list of folk who have added me to their circles…

This is always a risky thing of course – because my personal research ethic means that for anyone who pops their head above the horizon in my social space by linking publicly to one of my public profiles, their public data is fair game for an experiment… (I’m also aware that via authenticated access I may well be able to find grab even more data – but again, my personal research ethic is such that I try to make sure I don’t use data that requires any form of authentication in order to acquire it.)

So, here’s a started for 10: a quick social positioning map generated around who folk who have added me to public circles on Google+ publicly follow… Note that for folk who follow more than 90 people, I’m selecting a random sample of 90 of their friends to plot the graph. The graph is further filtered to only show folk who are followed by 5 or more of the folk who have added me to their circles (bear in mind that this may miss people out because of the 90 sample size hack).

Who folk who put me in a g+ circle follow

Through familiarity with many of the names, I spot what I’d loosely label as an OU grouping, a JISC grouping, an ed-techie grouping and a misc/other grouping…

Given one of the major rules of communication is ‘know your audience’, I keep wondering why so many folk who “do” the social media thing have apparently no interest in who they’re bleating at or what those folk might be interested in… I guess it’s a belief in “if I shout, folk will listen…”?

PS if you want to grab your own graph and see how you’re socially positioned on Google Plus, the code is here (that script is broken… I’ve started an alternative version here). It’s a Python script that requires the networkx library. (The d3 library is also included but not used – so feel free to delete that import…)

Written by Tony Hirst

October 16, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Posted in Analytics

Tagged with ,

Fishing for OU Twitter Folk…

Just a quick observation inspired by the online “focus group” on Twitter yesterday around the #twitterou hashtag (a discussion for OU folk about Twitter usage): a few minutes in to the discussion, I grabbed a list of the folk who had used the tag so far (about 10 or people at the time), pulled down a list of the people they followed to construct a graph of hashtaggers->friends, and then filtered the resulting graph to show folk with node degree of 5 or more.

twitterOU - folk followed by 5 or more folk using twitterou before 2.10 or so today

Because a large number of OU Twitter folk follow each other, the graph is quite dense, which means that if we take a sample of known OU users and look for people that a majority of that sample follow, we stand a reasonable chance of identifying other OU folk…

Doing a bit of List Intelligence (looking up the lists that a significant number of hashtag users were on, I identified several OU folk Twitter lists, most notably @liamgh/planetou and @guyweb/openuniversity.

Just for completeness, it’s also worth pointing out that simple community analysis of followers of a known OU person might also turn up OU clusters, e.g. as described in Digging Deeper into the Structure of My Twitter Friends Network: Librarian Spotting. I suspect if we did clique analysis on the followers, this might also identify ‘core’ members of organisational communities that could be used to seed a snowball discovery mechanism for more members of that organisation.

PS hmmm… maybe I need to do a post or two on how we might go about discovering enterprise/organisation networks/communities on Twitter…?

Written by Tony Hirst

October 14, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Posted in Anything you want

Tagged with , , ,

OU IT, Analytics and SocialLearn Vacancies Round Up

There’s been quite a flurry of OU job ads out recently in the IT and analytics areas… Here’s a quick round-up:

  • Head of IT Development (Curriculum Planning, Finance and HR) (£46,696 – £55,758): “We are looking for a Head of IT Development to manage the Curriculum Planning, Finance and HR team within IT Development.
    “You will manage a team of 15-20 Analysts and Developers, and will have responsibility for the utilisation, skills and development of staff within the team. They must be able to demonstrate leadership and management skills and the ability to drive change to completion. The Head of IT Development also has responsibility for the relationship with business partners using our Curriculum Planning, Finance and HR systems, liaising with stakeholders on a regular basis and takes overall responsibility for the delivery of the IT Development project portfolio for their business area.”
  • Head of IT Testing, Information Technology (£46,696 – £55,758): “We are looking for a Head of IT Testing to establish and lead a new IT Testing function within IT Development.
    “The post holder will assess current testing processes, tools and environments then produce and implement an overall testing strategy. The Head of IT Testing will be accountable for the quality of testing for all projects delivered by IT Development. They must be able to demonstrate leadership skills and the ability to drive process and culture change into a busy and challenging environment. The IT Development team deliver a diverse range of projects including multi-million pound systems transformation programmes, large package upgrades and enhancements and key strategic business change projects.
    “Applicants should preferably hold recognised IT Testing qualifications and will be fully conversant with best practice project management and IT development methodologies. They must have demonstrable experience of managing IT testing on large software programmes and of successfully creating and managing IT testing functions.”
  • 3x Business Systems Analysts, Information Technology (up to £39,000): “We are looking for experienced systems analysts to work in the Development section of the University’s IT Department, to support and enhance existing business applications and work on business change projects.
    “The University has recently approved a multimillion pound 3 year systems redevelopment programme. IT Development is tasked to deliver this major change programme while continuing to support the existing estate primarily its in-house systems.
    “We need to strengthen our existing 30 strong analyst team with additional experienced analysts. While this will involve a significant amount of in-house development, we expect to increase the use of off-the-shelf software, so experience of package configuration and support would also be useful.”
  • IT Project Manager, Information Technology (£36,862 – £44,016): “We are looking for one IT Project Managers to work within a new IT Project Management function within IT Development, reporting to the Head of IT Project Management.
    “You will be responsible for the successful delivery of all projects assigned to them and must be able to demonstrate leadership skills and the ability to drive change to completion.”
  • 2x Senior Business Improvement Analysts, CIO’s Office, Information Technology (£36,862 – £44,016): “The Higher Education sector is undergoing substantial change; with restructuring of funding provision and increased competition driving the need for an increasingly customer-centric, agile and efficient service. As a result, we are expanding the Business Process Improvement team whose role is to work with business partners to identify opportunities to improve efficiency and transform processes.
    “We are looking for experienced BPI Analysts with a background in process change and business transformation. Taking problem / ambition statements from our business partners across the organisation, you will work with them to develop future state processes and the roadmaps to implement those changes.
    “Knowledge of process analysis techniques and the Lean methodology is essential. You should also be a confident, experienced facilitator and communicator (used to dealing with senior and board level executives) with strong influencing & negotiation skills and enjoy working in a collaborative environment.”
  • Systems Analyst, Information Technology (up to £39,000): “We are looking for experienced systems analysts to work in the Development section of the University’s IT Department, to support and enhance existing business applications and work on business change projects.
    “The University has recently approved a multimillion pound 3 year systems redevelopment programme. IT Development is tasked to deliver this major change programme while continuing to support the existing estate primarily its in-house systems. We need to strengthen our existing 30 strong analyst team with additional experienced analysts. While this will involve a significant amount of in-house development, we expect to increase the use of off-the-shelf software, so experience of package configuration and support would also be useful. A good knowledge of structured development methods, including process and data analysis, is also a prerequisite. You should also enjoy working collaboratively, have a flexible approach and a keenness to develop your professional skills.”
  • Information Analyst (£29,972 – £35,788): “We are seeking someone to join our small team of information analysts, providing data and analysis to inform strategic and operational planning, decision making and external reporting requirements.
    “A key part of the role is the preparation and provision of analysis to support student recruitment forecasting and target-setting, as well as providing wider management information and reports in support of institutional and unit planning.
    “If you are interested in joining us, you should have a first degree (or equivalent) in a subject with a strong mathematics and/or statistics component and have experience of data manipulation and reporting using SAS, SPSS or a similar analytical tool.”
  • Learning and Teaching Librarian, Library Services (part-time, £29,972 – £35,788 (pro rata)): “We are seeking a qualified Librarian to join our professional team. You will provide specialist support to module and programme teams in the implementation of the Learning and Teaching Strategy, as well as supporting research activity. You will provide information and support to students and tutors, assist in the development and delivery of information skills training and assist in collection management.
    “You will be confident with new technologies and have the ability to excite and engage users in developing information skills and resource-based learning activities to enhance the Open University curriculum. You will understand the pedagogic use of resources and technologies and aware of the issues around digital scholarship.”
  • Comms and Relationship Manager (SocialLearn), Knowledge Media Institute (KMi) (£36,862 – £44,016): “The Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute has an opening for a Comms and Relationship Manager on the SocialLearn Project.
    “As the project moves into a new phase where we will be actively building new user communities, the need to develop partnerships will be a key success factor. Also crucial is the need to build an active user base drawn from both internal and external communities. We are, therefore, looking to acquire the services of an experienced professional to develop and manage the various audiences and stakeholders that will either have an interest in SocialLearn or the potential to engage with the system as users or developers.”
  • Research Associate (SocialLearn): Social Learning Analytics & Recommender Services, Knowledge Media Institute (KMi): “The Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute has an opening for a Research Associate: Social Learning Analytics & Recommender Services. The SocialLearn project is investigating the future of online social learning, and draws on expertise from across the OU [www.open.ac.uk/sociallearn].
    “Your responsibility will be to use your understanding of analytics and recommendation engines to improve the SocialLearn user experience.”
  • For more information about the SocialLearn project, see: SocialLearn beta, blog

    For how IT fits into the OU structure, see the OU Administrative Substructure Org Chart [PDF]


    If you’re looking for related qualifications/career enhancement pathways, see also:

    CIO Executive Council Pathways
    – Course – Network security: “With organisations increasingly dependent on their information systems, there is a greater need to ensure that the underlying network infrastructure being used by these systems is secure. As a leading Cisco Academy, this course includes the Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) Security course and provides a foundation for preparing for the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) qualification.”
    undergrad courses in Computing/ICT (register now to lock in cheaper fees;-)
    undergrad qualifications in Computing and ICT (register now to lock in cheaper fees;-)
    postgrad qualifications in Computing and ICT, postgrad courses in business, postgrad qualifications in Technology and Technology Management

    As an OU employee, being able to register on OU undergrad courses for free has been a traditional perk… (“Staff Fee Waivers can be used for any taught course that the University offers: this includes Openings, Arts, Science and Technology Short Courses and Residential School Courses. PGCE/ITT courses are not covered unless you have special approval from your Head of Unit.”) I assume this will continue to be the case when the new fees regime kicks-in…?

Written by Tony Hirst

August 25, 2011 at 9:13 am

Posted in Jobs, OU2.0

Tagged with

Can SocialLearn Be Built As Such? Plus an OU Jobs RoundUp

A tweet from Scott Leslie on Saturday alerted me to the fact he had a major post brewing…

And here it is: Planning to Share versus Just Sharing.

Do yourself a favour and go and read it now… Then come back and finish reading this post… or not… but read that one…

Here’s the link again: Planning to Share versus Just Sharing.

‘Nuff said? Here’s one thing it made me think of: Planning to Build versus Just Building.

Speaking of which, I wonder if we have any more SocialLearn planning meetings this week? ;-)

On another tack, it looks like the OU’s recruiting to some interesting posts again:

  • Director of Research and Enterprise, Research School, Strategy Unit: “The Open University plans to increase the range and volume of research of international quality and to expand its knowledge transfer activity at national and regional levels. We need an experienced, proactive and forward looking Director of Research and Enterprise who can help us achieve these ambitions.” I’d personally argue blogs like OUseful.info are in the KT business – if you get the post, feel free to buy me a coffee and vehemently disagree;-)
  • Online Marketing Manager, Marketing and Sales: “In this role, you will contribute to the new media strategy, setting strategies to achieve the online objectives to achieve student targets. You will manage the implementation and evaluation of PPC, affiliate programmes and third party partnerships and manage the development of existing and future marketing websites.” = you will spend lots of money with Google. Just beware Simpson’s Paradox
  • Development Advisor – Collaborative Tools, Learning & Teaching Solutions (LTS): “Collaborative tools are a key part of the online learning experience of Open University students. You will play a key role in both promoting the effective use of collaborative tools in new OU courses and the introduction of new collaborative tools across existing courses.” IMHO, don’t even think about mentioning Second Life, unless it’s to advocate the use of flamethrowers ;-)
  • Programmer/ Web developer, The Library and Learning Resource Centre: “Would you like to contribute in a key role in the development of the Open University’s Library systems, services and products to support all its business processes for both customers and Library staff? You will be providing technical input to projects and service developments, in particular maintaining and developing new services for the Library website.” Far be it from me to say that any Library website redesign should be informed by at least a passing familiarity with what the Library website analytics have say about how the site is used… And if you persuade them to dump Voyager, I’ll buy you a pint of whatever you want…
  • Broadcast Project Manager, Open Broadcasting Unit (OBU): “we need an additional Broadcast Project Manager to work with OU colleagues, the BBC and others to develop and manage detailed project plans for TV, radio and broadband commissions and associated support elements (e.g. print items). You’ll have your own group of projects and opportunities to contribute to process developments.” Tell ’em you watch OU programmes via the “OU Catchup Channel” on MythTV – the panel won’t have a clue what you’re talking about, so you could maybe follow up by suggesting a quick project that would produce a Wii front end for the the OU CatchUp Channel;-) (Hint condition: steal the BBC iPlayer Wii interface and ask Guy to make ice from it ;-)
  • e-Learning Developer, Learning and Teaching Solutions: “We are looking for an experienced e-learning developer with a web/software background. Working as part of a project team and in close collaboration with academics and other media specialists, you will play a key role in developing effective OU distance learning materials for delivery online or via disc.”
  • Research Fellow – SocialLearn, Knowledge Media Institute (KMi): “your responsibility will be to use your understanding of learning and sensemaking online to improve the SocialLearn platform.” I have no idea what this post is about? Maybe trying to think about ways we can mine the platform for data. I can offer you the 5k user records we have on Course Profiles to get started with, and suggestions about how to scale that app in terms of numbers and the data it can collect, but to date no else seems to think this is in anyway relevant to the data/insight that SocialLearn will collect, so maybe that’s just a red herring…;-)
  • Web Developer – cohere.open.ac.uk, Knowledge Media Institute (KMi): a Cohere hacking post. IMHO, Cohere isn’t yet what it may turn to be useful as…. (My attempts at grokking a simpler, more literal version of it, are Linktracks? Trackmarks? Linkmarks? and Doublemarks!)
  • Publicity and Evaluation Officer, Personalised Integrated Learning Support (PILS), Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning: “in this new role we are looking for an experienced secretary to support one of our PILS managers and our Publicity and Evaluation Manager. You will be required to use your IT, written communication and numeric skills to support the production of publicity and evaluation materials, and to update our websites.” Personally, I’d look to appoint an evangelist to the Open CETL, but I suppose we still have to service the old-fashioned markets (that aren’t so amenable to social network leverage) somehow?;-)

As ever, I have nothing to do with any of the above…

Written by Tony Hirst

November 10, 2008 at 9:10 am

Posted in Jobs, OU2.0

Tagged with


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