The Listening for Impact project was well represented at the Oxford Internet Institute’s packed out Digital Impacts: How to Measure and Understand the Usage and Impact of Digital Content event on Friday.
The question of how we can measure and understand the usage and impact of digital content within the education sector is becoming increasingly important. Substantial investment goes into the creation of digital resources for research, teaching and learning and, in the current economic climate, both content creators, publishers as well as funding bodies are being asked to provide evidence of the value of the resources they’ve invested in.
But how do we go about defining value and impact? Which metrics should we adopt to understand usage? When is a digital resource a well used resource?
In answer to these questions Rowan Wilson described the metrics we have used in an effort to gain a better understanding of who uses our podcasts and where they are. This is a complex process for us because the podcasts are available from so many different places- podcasts.ox.ac.uk, departmental and college websites, ItunesU and collection/repository sites such as JORUM. Additionally, many of our resourses are published with OER licences which make is easier for people to take them and re-use them, potentially increasing their impact many times over, without any requirement to let us know.
This seems to be an example of how the features of technology confound the very evidence which will secure its future.
In my presentation I used evidence, anecdote and pure conjecture to reflect on how both the activity and the content of the Oxford podcasts have had impact on staff, students, our neighbours and the institution that is University of Oxford.
Now that we understand our metrics better we are some way towards being able to advise individual academic colleagues on how much, or how much more, impact their talks and presentations can have.
What keeps me awake at night is the worry that they might all suddenly want to do it.
In my presentation I used images from the John Johnson collection which the audience seemed to like, so I hope I created a little impact for that collection too.