Thursday, July 12, 2007

There is always an exception that proves the rule

The program is divided into strands - enabling learning, connnect with your community, managing your system and measuring outcomes. Mostly the things I go to are in the first two strands, but last session of the afternoon I found myself in a "managing your system" (normally very definitely Mary's domain) session from North Carolina State (a WebCT institution). The session was entitled Support by Numbers: Using LMS Data to Prioritize Help Desk Activity (by which they really mean, using system data and other reporting to inform the staff development activities and materials that they offer at particular times of the year). They use a combination of Remedy data and WebCT internal reporting, but in a lot of ways the method of data collection wasn't the key feature - we gather our data somewhat differently but there were certainly some great ideas of how to make more of the data than just system performance and technical upgrade scheduling, also they were very realistic about where the numbers helped and where they didn't (eg limitation of complexity, granularity etc and recognising that with all the info in the world staff development is still difficult). One thing about their data collection that was interesting was the immediacy - what were people doing yesterday, how is that different from last week. Also they schedule most of their upgrade work to synchronise with the college football schedule as there is no-one online then...clever. I liked their comments about the challenges of balancing day-to-day operational activities with stepping back to look at the strategic whole. Their slides are available online at http://vista.ncsu.edu/bbworld07 if you are interested but I also have more notes and a handout.

Funny moment when they realised they couldn't show us some of the reports they run live because the list of report names contained some allocated by help-desk staff with snappy titles like "Most annoying users", "Most common asker of same question again and again" :-)

2 comments:

Brian said...

Ahh.. my hometown university. Sounds like it was an ok session despite being WebCT.

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