Can you help? Please read and leave a comment on this post.

I wonder if you can help with any of the following Forum topics? For some of them the moment may have passed, and some have been perhaps answered in other ways, but all of them were put out there by people using the Forums within the site’s Groups and none of them got a reply. Which is a bit sad.

I’ve always thought that the Groups were a good way of honing particular interests, and the Forum within each one a good way for those people to ask for help, share experience, and so on. But, I may be wrong, of course. Do people think that the site would be better if we scrapped the Groups and Forums? Are they necessary? Do people browse them or use them? Do most people simply log in, look for resources, download, and switch off?

The average length of time that a member spends on the site is 3 minutes precisely (taking data from 1st January until 30th April of this year). What do people do in that time? They visit 3.22 pages (not including individual subject resource pages; I’m just talking about the front-end pages) on average*. One of these is the home page. One is the activity feed page which comes up when you log in (along with your personal menu [I’ve included mine above as an example] with lots of links to your Groups and so on). The third page?

In the last 24 hours, three people clicked on the Forums link in their personal menu (the one that comes up as soon as you log in) and eight on the Groups link in their personal menu. A maximum of two clicked on the Forums link in the News menu, a maximum of three on the Groups link in the News menu. One hundred and fifty-nine different people have logged in at least once in the last 24 hours (which is about average).

 

Is it time to start using the Groups and their Forums, or is it time to scrap them altogether? Please tell me what you think. If they’re not going to be used, then they’re a waste, and the sad questions below were wasted.

 

Topic Posts Freshness
Classics Conference in Scotland, from the Friends of Classics Started by Profile picture of Stephen JenkinStephen Jenkin in Group logo for Classics in ScotlandClassics in Scotland 1 4 days, 19 hours agoProfile picture of Stephen Jenkin Stephen Jenkin
Greek Tragedy Started by Profile picture of Mark HigginbottomMark Higginbottom in Group logo for AQA A Level Classical CivilisationAQA A Level Classical Civilisation 1 3 weeks, 3 days agoProfile picture of Mark Higginbottom Mark Higginbottom
AQA Greek Drama and Dramatic Festivals Started by Profile picture of Hannah MaguireHannah Maguire in Group logo for GCSE Classical CivilisationGCSE Classical Civilisation 1 1 month, 2 weeks agoProfile picture of Hannah Maguire Hannah Maguire
A403 & A404 10 mark questions Started by Profile picture of Hilary SillisHilary Sillis in Group logo for GCSE LatinGCSE Latin 1 1 month, 3 weeks agoProfile picture of Hilary Sillis Hilary Sillis
GCSE Latin A401 and A402 Started by Profile picture of Sue JenkinsSue Jenkins in Group logo for GCSE LatinGCSE Latin 1 2 months, 2 weeks agoProfile picture of Sue Jenkins Sue Jenkins
Persians Controlled Assessment Started by Profile picture of Nicholas MitchellNicholas Mitchell in Group logo for GCSE Ancient HistoryGCSE Ancient History 1 4 months, 2 weeks agoProfile picture of Nicholas Mitchell Nicholas Mitchell
Legacy AQA materials Started by Profile picture of Cressida RyanCressida Ryan in Group logo for GCSE LatinGCSE Latin 1 4 months, 2 weeks agoProfile picture of Cressida Ryan Cressida Ryan
Legacy AQA materials Started by Profile picture of Cressida RyanCressida Ryan in Group logo for GCSE LatinGCSE Latin 1 4 months, 2 weeks agoProfile picture of Cressida Ryan Cressida Ryan
Legacy AQA materials Started by Profile picture of Cressida RyanCressida Ryan in Group logo for GCSE LatinGCSE Latin 1 4 months, 2 weeks agoProfile picture of Cressida Ryan Cressida Ryan
Roman Religion Practise Questions Started by Profile picture of Ben McLeanBen McLean in Group logo for GCSE Classical CivilisationGCSE Classical Civilisation 1 4 months, 2 weeks agoProfile picture of Ben McLean Ben McLean
Difficulty of CE Started by Profile picture of Oliver PatrickOliver Patrick in Group logo for Common Entrance LatinCommon Entrance Latin 1 5 months, 3 weeks agoProfile picture of Oliver Patrick Oliver Patrick
Germanicus & Piso Started by Profile picture of Kate MorrisKate Morris in Group logo for GCSE LatinGCSE Latin 1 6 months, 1 week agoProfile picture of Kate Morris Kate Morris
Word derivations Started by Profile picture of Melinda PalmerMelinda Palmer in Group logo for GCSE GreekGCSE Greek 1 7 months agoProfile picture of Melinda Palmer Melinda Palmer
Cicero In Verrem – which is correct text? Started by Profile picture of Hilary SillisHilary Sillis in Group logo for A Level LatinA Level Latin 1 7 months agoProfile picture of Hilary Sillis Hilary Sillis
Aeneid Study Day? Started by Profile picture of Louisa WoodruffLouisa Woodruff in Group logo for OCR A Level Classical CivilisationOCR A Level Classical Civilisation 1 7 months, 1 week agoProfile picture of Louisa Woodruff Louisa Woodruff
Ecce Romani 1 Started by Profile picture of Terry WalshTerry Walsh in Group logo for KS2/3 ClassicsKS2/3 Classics 1 7 months, 2 weeks agoProfile picture of Terry Walsh Terry Walsh
Athenian Democracy Started by Profile picture of Ruthie JacobsRuthie Jacobs in Group logo for GCSE Class Civ Controlled AssessmentGCSE Class Civ Controlled Assessment 1 7 months, 3 weeks agoProfile picture of Ruthie Jacobs Ruthie Jacobs
on-line Greek Started by Profile picture of Jennifer O'HaganJennifer O’Hagan in Group logo for GCSE GreekGCSE Greek 1 7 months, 4 weeks agoProfile picture of Jennifer O'Hagan Jennifer O’Hagan
Textbook Started by Profile picture of Oliver PatrickOliver Patrick in Group logo for Common Entrance LatinCommon Entrance Latin 1 10 months, 4 weeks agoProfile picture of Oliver Patrick Oliver Patrick

* Although this figure is pretty static, on April Fool’s Day an average of 7.55 pages per visit was registered! What does this tell me?

Comments

  1. Profile photo of Anna Addinall
    Anna Addinall

    I think that there is often a time issue, people logging on to look for something specific rather than having the time to browse. I think they are a useful addition to the site though and it is good to have a place where it is possible to contact people who may know the answer.

    Anna

    1. Profile photo of Julie Wolseley
      Julie Wolseley

      I also really like the potential to discuss/ask questions. The new format mey be less obvious or accessible, but it may be just a matter of time in getting used to it.
      Hugely valuable either for moaning or support; so many of us work alone.

    2. Profile photo of Steve Jenkin
      Steve Jenkin Post author

      That’s great, Julie, thanks!

      How is the new format less obvious, do you think? I suppose the old menu had a specific Groups link, whereas on the new menu it’s under News. The Activity Feed comes up just the same as the old format (though I’ve removed news of new posts on that feed, since there’s the option of having these emailed to you and they appear on the homepage before you login). Also, I’ve updated the group/forum software, which I hoped would be neater. Is it not, do you think?

      I want to improve things where I can, obviously, so please let me know!

      Thanks again. S

  2. Profile photo of Steve Jenkin
    Steve Jenkin Post author

    Thanks, Anna! That’s reassuring to hear. It’s a bit chicken-egg, perhaps. If members don’t browse or reply, there’s little incentive for others to post new topics and discussion. Why would you ask a question if you knew it was unlikely you’d get a reply? Of the 28 topics across all of the Forums for all of the Groups since last June, only 9 got a reply, in the Forums at least. Hardly a lot of topics, and less than a third got replies!

    Time, I’m sure you’re right, is the biggest issue and people don’t have time during a school day to browse and think and write back to people. And it’s certainly true that most people use the site during the day (that said, yesterday between 5pm and 10pm there was a different member logging in about every five minutes), and only about 7% of people who have logged in have done so with a mobile device (suggesting perhaps that people aren’t browsing on-the-go so much, and more likely downloading at an actual PC).

    So, I’m glad if people think it’s a good place to contact people, but it’s only a good place to contact people if they answer you when you call. Is there anything I can do to make the communication easier, help people reach others, make the process simpler?

    First and foremost I’m sure this site is successful (is it?) because of the resources, which make everyone’s life easier and their teaching less stressful or more varied. We are over 1,100 enthusiastic Classicists – there must be other ways to harness that?

    Thanks again, Anna, for commenting. I’m sure people will agree with you (I do), and I hope they and everyone else contributes to this debate, so that we can make the site better than ever for everyone. That may sound like a cliche (as will the following), but I’m just a teacher like all of you, and I’ve spent over four years trying to keep this site running and make everyone a part of it. That’s all I’ve ever said since Day One, and what I champion still.

  3. Profile photo of Steve Jenkin
    Steve Jenkin Post author

    I’m very grateful to someone who pointed out that some of these forum topics were in fact replied to! This is really heartening (if also embarrassing), but highlights an issue with how the site collates these replies and the reason why the issue came about. Let me explain.

    The Groups (and the Forum within each) were barely being used, I thought. I wanted people to see the questions people were asking more readily, in the hope that they would reply. So, I set up a system where, as soon as you login, you are redirected to the site’s Activity Feed, which shows all activity by members in posts, Groups and Forums, organised chronologically with the most recent at the top. This has worked fairly well and certainly has meant that members have replied to posts and topics which they might not otherwise have noticed.

    The issue is that the Activity Feed is fed by what appears on each member’s profile, which displays their individual activity, and comments on someone’s profile activity isn’t logged in the database as the same thing as a reply to a forum topic. This means that the Forums don’t always show everyone’s comments on people’s activity, and explains why some of the Forum topics look unanswered when in fact there are comments to be found in the member’s (the one who wrote the original Forum topic) profile. Not entirely sure how to fix this…

    This would also go a some way to explaining why members don’t visit the Forum/Group pages, since they can comment on activity on the Activity Feed when they log in.

    Still, I think there’s some debate to be had about how much members read and respond to things by other members.

    I could make all site activity one BIG Forum, but this would mean that people who only teach certain subjects couldn’t zoom in on just the Groups that they want to join. They’d have to sift EVERYTHING happening on the site and in the Forums to find something relevant to them. I’m not sure that’s what people generally would want, but I’m writing this to find out, so let me know.

    So, I hope you see where the issue I started this comment with came about, and that it came about as a result of trying to ease communication. I may not have totally solved it, which is why I need you to tell me what would help.

    If I removed the Activity Feed from appearing when you log in, would people visit the Groups and their Forums more…?

  4. Profile photo of Steve Jenkin
    Steve Jenkin Post author

    Just to clarify. On the personal menu, which appears when you login, clicking on Groups shows you the groups you have personally joined, and clicking on Forums will show the activity you personally have contributed to the forums.

    In the bottom half of that menu (the @all Activity, Personal, Mentions, etc’, clicking on Groups will show you all activity for the groups you’ve joined.

    Play with it and hopefully it’ll become natural!

  5. Profile photo of Terry Walsh
    Terry Walsh

    Macte virtute!

    I did wonder why absolutely nobody has replied to the discussion groups I set up. I know that ‘Delian League to Athenian Empire’ is the least popular OCR AS option, but one or two replies would have been a catalyst for some discussion. I will stay on board, of course. Remember that it’s exam time and we’re all a bit frenetic!

  6. Profile photo of Steve Jenkin
    Steve Jenkin Post author

    Cheers, Terry.

    It varies a lot, and you may be the victim of asking about a topic which not so many people teach. Hopefully this will at least highlight the possibilities and opportunities that the groups and forums can do to help.