Google Analytics on SunSpace


One of my little areas of expertise at Northumbria was providing analytics data and reports on Blackboard usage and it’s something which was missing here at Sunderland, for the VLE at least. Unfortunately the way Learning Studio works it has not been possible to implement Google Analytics tracking code system wide, but I’m not easily deterred! I found a way to embed the code into an announcement on the landing page so that we can at least get client side data: numbers, technology, location and mobile use which is all useful in informing development.

If the report looks a little familiar, well, that’s just because great cooks bake nice cakes no matter what kitchen they’re in!

Mahara Upgrade

I feel like I don’t post as much as I used to, and part of the reason why is because a lot of my work is now either collaborative or of a project management nature. The new version of Mahara is a case in point. The old version was 1.4, a three year old release, and hadn’t been updated since. A project to upgrade or install a new version had begun before I started which became one for me to push through. The new version, set up as a completely new system because the database on the old one was Postgres and we couldn’t easily migrate it to MySQL, is now available thanks to a team effort from many people in WaLTS and IT Services. Now there is just the small matter of manually exporting 8,000 user accounts to the new one. That’ll keep us busy for a while.

Another good piece of work I have been involved in is the imminent deployment of a new integration of Turnitin, another stalled project which I had picked up, which included writing a fairly comprehensive report for our service director who had her doubts. We just need to do some final quality assurance testing on this and write some new help guides for staff and students and then it will be good to release.

You’re Hired

An interesting first for me today, I hired someone. We had an intern vacancy in the team for the next six months to assist with customer support during our busy period and then to help with the upgrades to Mahara and Equella. This was all approved and most of the paperwork done some time ago, before I was even in post, but the final tasks were assigned to me which included liaising with the Intern Factory, advertising, selection and defining the interview questions and procedures.

I had a crash course on recruitment and selection on Thursday in time for the interviews on Friday afternoon. We interviewed three people, all of whom could have done the job, but one who had just a bit more experience and gave a slightly better interview, so I feel really sorry for the other two.

This will also be my first official experience with line managing someone, as opposed to just supervising, though I was responsible for an agency worker we had in for three weeks last month for a specific task.