The Power of Webmaker Landing Pages

We just started using our first webmaker.org landing page, and I thought I’d write about why this is so important and how it’s working out so far. Who’s getting involved? Every day people visit the webmaker.org website. They come from many places, for many reasons. Sometimes they know about Webmaker, but most of the time it’s new to them. Some of those people take an action; they sign-up to find out more, to make something with our tools, or even to throw a Maker Party. But, most of the people who visit webmaker.org don’t. The percentage of people who do take action is our conversion rate. Our conversion rate is an important number that can help us to be more effective. And being more effective is key to winning. If you’re new to thinking about our conversion rate, it can … Continue reading »

Who’s teaching this thing anyway?

This is an idea for Webmaker teacher dashboards, and some thoughts on metadata related to learning analytics This post stems from a few conversations around metrics for Webmaker and learning analytics and it proposes some potential product features which need to be challenged and considered. I’m sharing the idea here as it’s easy to pass this around, but this is very much just an idea right now. For context, I’m approaching this from a metrics perspective, but I’m trying to solve the data gathering challenge by adding value for our users rather than asking them to do any extra work. These are the kind of questions I want us to be able to answer and that can inform future decision making in a positive way… How many people using Webmaker tools are mentors, students, or others? Do mentors teach many … Continue reading »

User Testing vs. A/B Testing

So you have a page, or a system, or a form or an app or anything, and you know you want to make it ‘better’. And the question is… Should we use User Testing or A/B Testing? TL;DR: Both can be valuable, and you can do both. So long as you have an underlying indicator of the ‘better’ that you can track over the long-term. A/B Testing A/B testing is good because: It shows you ‘for real’, at scale, what actually prompts your users to do the things you most want them to do It can further polish processes that have been through thorough user testing; to a degree that’s just not possible with a small group of people It can self-optimize content in real-time to maximize the impact of short spikes of campaign activity A/B testing is bad because: … Continue reading »

Specific thoughts on the @Coursera experience

First, I’d like to say a massive thank you. I really value the chance to study this excellent material at zero financial cost, and more importantly I love the opportunity you provide to people all around the world who don’t have the finances or the circumstances to otherwise consider such an education. I also know what it’s like to maintain and develop a complex online system while supporting active users, so this feedback is by no means an accusation of negligence. You will have thought about much of this already I’m sure, and if it’s already on a project roadmap somewhere then please excuse me. In short, this is not a letter from a grumpy customer; I just thought it may be useful to hear some specific feedback and ideas that could help with the online experience: When viewing and submitting … Continue reading »