Twitter

I’ve created a twitter account so you can follow me if you already twitter (or Tweet, or whatever) and want more of the same content, rambling etc that I post here – I’m curious to see how much interest there will be in this. Be warned, my tweets will be on a range of stuff, this blog, tuition fees and analytics for the most part, but expect the odd rant now and again.

Add me:  http://twitter.com/JohnWedderburn

Here’s a blog post from Eduguru about twittering and higher ed.

Making sense of bounce rate: Tracking outbound links

One of the possible dangers of using the bounce rate data from google analytics is when you are looking at a page where the links being clicked are sending people away from your site. GA shows you a bounce, but the user is actually clicking on one of the links you thoughtfully left for them.

In our higher education world of decentralised websites this is often the case. For example, a page on a university’s main website, which gives links to all its faculties will often be sending visitors away from the site and could therefore be shown as a bounce in Google Analytics. Thus, GA is telling us the bounce rate is appalling but is the problem the content or the data itself? I’ve started addressing this by adding the handy piece of javascript which the good people of Google have thoughtfully provided. Here’s the bounce rate of our ‘Find Faculties’ page, before I added the javascript.

ga-data

Holy Crap! – What the graph is telling us is that on some days the bounce rate was 100% – time to get my coat, I think. The average for this time period is around 50%…which sucks.

Here’s the bounce rate for the ‘Find Faculties’ page, with the data included for the period when I added the tracking code. Note the much shorter peaks on the far right of the graph.

ga-data-2

Nice  – now we can see that the bounce rate has dropped (or rather, we’re visualising it properly) to something we can live in.  The average for the period where we installed the script is a more agreeable 10%.

And to get even more data from that page we can see the individual links now appearing as ‘pages’ in the content report. And my top tip here is set up the tag in the link so it’s something sensible to read in your reports and is different for each link.

You are the weakest link, goodbye.

Usability news is always a good source of material and here’s a great article on common problems with linking. One of the problems with using links like ‘Click here’ or ‘Read more’ is that it does not help search engines understand your content. In the decentralised world of university website management, where faculties and institutes on separate websites are linking to each others sites, we could all do our users a favour and provide more meaningful links which contain the page’s targeted key words.

The Swedish Government will vote on tuition fees for International Students on the 17th March 2009.

Updated: February 4th 2009, once again the government delays the vote and fees look to be pushed back until 2011.

The most recent information from  the Swedish Government says that the vote on the proposal for the internationalisation of higher education, which includes tuition fees for non-EU students, will take place on March 17th 2009.

Here’s the link to the pdf which has this information, it’s a list of all the stuff the government intends to vote on and is, unfortunately, only in Swedish. It’s number 102, page 8.

Studera.nu wiki

A wiki describing studera.nu, and how to apply to a master’s programme in Sweden has been launched by Andrei Neculau. This is the evolution of his blog, which he created in response to the difficulties he had with studera when he applied. The usual disclaimers apply, this is not an official wiki from studera, but it’s packed with information and should help with the application, and post application, processes (which Andrei calls ‘war’ and ‘purgatory’).

Apart from the fact that this is incredibly useful for people making applications to study in Sweden it’s also a great example of the future of the web (dare I say it, ‘web 2.0’). As it’s a wiki, it’s totally interactive and, crucially, not ‘owned’ by studera. Maybe in the future we’ll start seeing students creating their own university websites which become as useful, if not more so, than the university’s own website?