Usage of Webfuse course sites

As part of the PhD I have to summarise aspects of Webfuse usage, the following is a quick attempt to summarise usage of the Webfuse course sites from 1997 through 2009. The main aim is to show what I’ve got so far, think about what needs to be added, generate a to do list, and make an initial stab at explaining some of the movements. The hope is that writing this is essentially a rough draft/scribble of material that will end up in the thesis.

Course site usage

The following table provides the stats I have so far. The table has the following columns:

  • year;
    Webfuse course sites first appeared in 1997 and ceased at the end of 2009. Each row shows statistics for courses that were offered in that academic year. At this institution the academic year started in Feb/March. For most of these years there was between 3 and 5 different terms. Some courses were offered multiple times a year.
  • course site hits;
    Most of the content on Webfuse course sites was available to anyone on the World-Wide Web without a need to login. Hence it is impossible to determine just how many of the requests for course site content and services were for students, staff, or the general public. Hence the number of requests for HTML pages and data files is given.
  • page updates; and
    Course sites were created and modified by the page update process. This column shows the number of unique page updates by teaching staff. Page updates by support staff have been removed.
  • Unique authors.
    The number of teaching academics who performed page updates in a year.
Year Course site hits Page Updates Unique authors
1997 780,651 2232 15
1998 905,326 7278 41
1999 1,378,699 6523 36
2000 1,833,577 5588 40
2001 6,491,238 2213 38
2002 5,346,867 11313 86
2003 4,686,393 13618 99
2004 4,133,551 12186 81
2005 2,422,395 8059 84
2006 3,278,221 13618 86
2007 1,891,192 12444 70
2008 1,848,491 9920 64
2009 1,958,401 8639 53

Some misc comments and points about this data:

  • From 1997 through to the first half of 2001, the default Webfuse course sites were generally fairly limited and created manually by support staff. Some were then modified by the teaching academics.

    To do: An important point to bring out is that in the early years, most of the page updates were down to a very small percentage of the staff. e.g. in 1997 almost 50% of the page updates were done by the one teaching academic – me. Need to add here some indication of distributed the number of page updates were amongst the teachign staff.

  • Through to about 2002/2003, the number of students within courses with Webfuse course sites was increasing significantly. From there the numbers decrease quite significantly.

    To do: calculate the number of students enrolled in the Webfuse courses and include it in this table to give some indication of this potential effect.

  • In the second half of 2001, a new automated and “better” design default course site approach was implemented. There is then a significant increase in the number of staff updating pages and the number of page updates. This is sort of the point I’m trying to prove.

    To do: There’s a strange dip in the number of page updates in 2001, more than half from the previous year. Check the dip in page updates for 2001, what’s the source?

  • In 2004/2005 the faculty in which Webfuse originated was broken up, with different disciplines going into different faculties. This followed close after the adoption of Blackboard as the institution’s LMS. Hence the number of courses using Webfuse course sites dropped.

    To do: Include the number of Webfuse course sites in each year to give some relative idea about the ups and downs of the page updates and unique authors.

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