Research 2.0: How do we know about the users that do not tell us anything?

McAndrew, Patrick; Godwin, Stephen and Santos, Andreia (2009). Research 2.0: How do we know about the users that do not tell us anything? In: Vavoula, Giasemi; Pachler, Norbert and Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes eds. Researching Mobile Learning: Frameworks, Tools and Research Designs. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, pp. 277–288.



The OpenLearn initiative at the Open University <> offers free and open access to online material across a wide range of subjects. This material has been placed in on online environ- ment based on the Moodle learning environment together with additional tools for communicating with other users and creating knowledge maps. One of the design aims of the initiative was to be low barrier to access so all content is available without registration, though some tools and features will only work once registered. The result is that we are seeking to research a site that is publicly accessible and has a majority of users that do not iden- tify themselves, many of whom spend a short time on the site. As a further challenge the content itself is openly licensed using Creative Commons ( and can be taken and relocated on mirror servers, or accessed remotely through content feeds. The initiative has had to face this challenge and implemented a mixture of tracking, simplified surveys and the gathering of interesting stories. This approach has enabled us to spot interesting trends while remaining unsure about many of our users and their aims. The methods that we find we are using indicate a new style of research that can be related back to Web 2.0 as Research 2.0.

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