WebCT: The 6 day work week (Part II)

My original posting on this topic has received a lot of attention from many in our ITS department, which has then encouraged more refinement on two fronts.

1) Work a little more indepth with the WebCT login information (more than just April), and
2) Perform similar studies with other Plymouth State University online resources.

I could not do much to accompish #1, as our reports that achive login numbers only extended about a week before April, and our 'standard' usage does not apply after Finals week of the Spring Term -- about three weeks after April -- so I was only able to add about a month to the month I already had. However a deeper study into each day does provid more insight.

For #2, I collaborated with Zach, our portal administrator, to perform an analysis on the most similar statistic he had -- number of logins in a given hour (remember, the WebCT metric is number of people logged in every ten minutes.) Though the statistics themselves were not identical, they do reflect the same thing, overall use and activity. Actually, these would be the same if you assume that all WebCT sessions last less than an hour, and no one enters WebCT more than once per portal login...its clearly a stretch, but also an indicator that they are similar.

Results (each graph has two lines per day...potal logins and WebCT active sessions).

Overall Trends

Not surprising (though comforting to verify), the usage trend between WebCT and our portal (MyPlymouth) were vary similar, as can be seen from the graph. Each day has a level of significant inactivity from 2:00-3:00AM hour until 6:00AM. After that, activity increases for the day time and stays active for the remainder of the day -- including well into the evening. Portal logins are quite a bit higher in number (these graph are plotted on two vertical axes), and even though the measurements are not the same, this is to be expected as the portal itself serves many more purposes. WebCT trends - each day
All 7 days

Weekdays vs. Weeekends

Clearly, as a traditional academic institution, one would expect that usage numbers are higher during the week, and these to hold true. Remembering that from 2:00-6:00AM are identical regardles of day, what's noteable here between the weekdays and the weekends is how rapidly activity increases immediately after 6:00AM. Also, note another interesting trend...the after dinner check-in. Each day (even on Friday), there is a peak of activity in the evenings after a clear dip during dinnertime. This appears to me more pronounced in WebCT usage, suggesting a higher percentage of WebCT use in the portal at that time.

Saturday vs. Sunday

This might be the most useful comparison. When a picture says a thousand words, then I don't have to type as much. Needless to say, this graph is highly responsible to a potential shift in our ITS weekly downtime window to Saturday. Also, again like the after dinner check-in during the week, the WeCT use is at a higher level with respect ot other times during Sunday evenings. Saturday-Sunday usage
Sat(blk) & Sun(red)

Friday vs. Sunday

This might be the most insteresting comparison, and the one the ultimately spawned this study. My original argument was that the additional activity on Sunday meant that WebCT worked a six day work week. In most repsects, this is still true, but you could also make the argument that the online academic week begins at noon on Sunday, and ends at noon Friday -- the new five day week? Fridays and Sundays
Fri(prpl) & Sun(red)

2 thoughts on “WebCT: The 6 day work week (Part II)

  1. Looking at the Saturday vs. Sunday Data, There is clearly no significant difference in usage for MyPlymouth until about 10:30am and no significant difference in WebCT usage until 12:30pm when comparing days. Given that Grad classes are normally held on Saturdays, is there any compelling reason to change the day we normally schedule downtime from Sunday to Saturday?

  2. My short answer is "Not yet." (Of course, if you know me, there's always a 'long answer'... oh, here it is!) It is clear that there is almost no difference between Sat/Sun mornings. Further, our institution is aggresively pushing the Evening and Weekend classes for this fall -- leading to more classes likely on both days.

    However, at this point, if WebCT were more affected by classes being offered on Saturday, then the numbers should have revealed that. As it is, the numbers are still very similar.

    An analysis of more regular term days (i.e., the fall semester) esp. with the increased Eveneing/Weekend courses is certainly needed before acting permanently.

    I think your points are valid, and there are many services that are not incorporated into this study, but I do not think the answer is as easy as that.

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