Dr. Alun Owen from Loughborough University has submitted the following interim report on his project.
A Pilot for a Shared On-line Statistics Advisory Service
Interim Report: January 2011
Project Leader: Alun Owen, Loughborough University
A project plan for this project was developed through a series of on-line meetings which were conducted using Elluminate. This allowed all members of the team that were new to Elluminate to develop their familiarity and skills with using it. This plan included arrangements for advertising the on-line Statistics Advisory Service (SAS) to students at the three partner institutions collaborating on the project. This advertising has been in place from late November 2010 using web based means, posters, leaflets and staff communications.
A statistics advisor, Mollie Gilchrist, has been recruited for the project. She has some previous experience of using Elluminate and has become an integral part of the project team. The on-line appointments have begun as planned from 10th January 2011. Uptake was initially slow, but has now increased such that up to and including 2nd February a total of 10 appointments from students across all three partner institutions have been made. The project allows for a total of 90 appointments by the end of April and so this uptake represents good progress in this respect. If all 90 appointments have not been utilised by the end of April then the project team have agreed that these will continue into May.
A questionnaire has been developed which is being administered on-line, to capture the opinions and experiences of students using the shared on-line service, in relation to both practical/technological and pedagogic perspectives. This is also being used to capture the views of students having used the service in relation to the potential demand for this type of on-line SAS. A number of students have also already agreed to contribute to the case studies, which will form part of the final report along with an analysis of the data collected from the questionnaire.
Plans for the dissemination of the outcomes of this project are well under way. There is interest from the regional sigma-hub network to discuss the use of Elluminate in providing a SAS. The project leader has been invited by the South-West hub to present on this topic at meeting to discuss issues relating to statistics support at Plymouth University in June. In addition, a workshop on on-line mathematics and statistics support is also currently being planned. It is also still the intention to report on the outcomes of the project at each partner institution, at the CETL-MSOR conference in September 2011 and also at another conference (details TBA).