My friend and colleague, Brad Kozlek has been updating some of the stats for the usage on Blogs at Penn State. He put together a little spreadsheet and shared it with me the other week. I was sort of stunned to see not the total numbers, but the jump from Spring 2008 to Fall 2008 use. I think it is fair to say it is growing considering last Spring we ended up with about 800 blogs. Interestingly we did a week over week view and saw an increase even in the middle of a semester. That to me is an indication that people are beginning to see the blogs as more than a blogging platform and are looking at them to manage websites, resumes, ePortfolios, and other things. You know, a real publishing platform.
What is amazing about this to me is not just the total number of blogs (which is cool to see at 3,932), but the number of posts. This is a good indicator to me that people aren’t just setting up their blog out of curiosity … they are actually writing in them. If you look at last week’s numbers (19,456 posts), we’re looking at right around 5 posts per blog. Add to that the 7,700 comments and we’re seeing the birth of some serious writing and conversations. One other thing I am noticing is how the total number of users is coming into line with the total number of blogs. Early on we were seeing a user create a number of blogs. It seems that we are perhaps doing a good job of talking to people why one blog utilizing a strong tag/category structure is more powerful in the long run. Perhaps … but interesting to see these numbers come closer together — right now there are only 239 more blogs than there are users, compared to August when there were 372 more blogs than users. Finally, I am quite literally stunned by the fact that users are uploading so many assets through the system. I am encouraged to see that maybe people are seeing the blog as a place to share and store pictures, documents, audio, video, and other objects. I would not have guessed that the Blogs at PSU would be managing 10,771 assets at this point.
These are by no means close to what our course management system, ANGEL sees in utilization — where there are currently 79,646 students with at least one course in ANGEL. ANGEL has been in play at PSU since 2001, so it would be interesting to go back and look at adoption a year into that initiative. Maybe I will if that is of interest. We’ll keep watching and reporting — I am really wondering what the numbers will look like at this time next semester … I am encouraged and energized by the possibilities.