1.1 The “snapshot” series
This report is the third in a series of four, stretching from July 2007 to October 2008. As thename suggests, the reports attempt to give a “snapshot” impression of SL developments withinUK Higher and Further Education. The underlying research has four main goals:1.
to determine the state of play of SL developments within the Higher and Further Educationsector2.
to discover how these developments are supported, in terms of time, funding and otherresources3.
to explore the functionality of these developments, i.e. which types of media orinteractive service they incorporate4.
to establish how busy, or well-used, the developments have been and discover any impactsresulting from their implementation and useThe previous reports in the series are available
on the Eduserv Foundation website.
1.2 Methodology for this snapshot
During the spring of 2008, the following searches were carried out to find instances of SL use inUK HE and FE:
on the web in general
in specialist domains, e.g. .ac.uk
across the blogosphere
through mailing lists
in SL itselfWithin SL itself, the search mechanism returns disappointing results. This is partially due toacademics giving their developments different names to that of their host institution. However,a technique for finding developments that proved surprisingly fruitful was to look two or threeislands in each direction from an academic institution’s island, as SL seems to cluster similartypes of development together.Every UK university was examined in two ways:1.
An email was sent to the most central email address that could be identified on theuniversity website that was considered likely to result in a response. It was interesting tonote how differently universities handled research enquiries, from distribution internally onthe one extreme, to having no suitable enquiry email address or not replying on the other.46 universities did respond. Many said there were no SL developments at their institution(in several instances this was incorrect), or that they were unaware of any.2.
A search was done of the university website. Due to the poor results (precision) producedby many university website searches, I switched to doing a Google search across eachuniversity website domain. Usually, this generated much better results in terms of recall
Snapshot series of reports:http://www.eduserv.org.uk/foundation/studies/slsnapshots