Fun with Web Metrics

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Education: determining K-12 in-class usage

I overheard a brief snippet of conversation this morning, talking about usage of a particular feature on an education-based web site.

They said that they assumed most of the traffic to said feature was classroom-based.

This reminded me that this is a problem for which I have never found a usable answer:

How can we separate “education” traffic from the overall traffic noise?

It occurred to me that if the percentage of K-12 schools in the US used the *.k12.(state).us domain for their server, then looking for those domain names in the logs would give some assessment of in-class usage. It wouldn’t trap things like teachers working from home, etc., but that might be OK if we could work under the assumption that detecting *.k12.(state).us was a likely situation of “in class” usage.

Problem is, I can’t (quickly) ascertain to what extent the schools ARE on *.k12.(state).us versus some other domain name. One co-worker thought that there were actually FEWER schools on it than five years ago. It seems to me that were I in the state-level office that has to keep track of school domains, that I would greatly prefer they register under a common (and somewhat protected) domain space even if the actual network providers were a sundry lot.

Can anyone out there shed any light on this? Even getting a series of fuzzy stats that could be strung together to make a fudge factor on observed traffic would be better than “we’re just assuming that MOST is K-12” without actually looking at the logs…

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November 19, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

1 Comment »

  1. Is there any value in looking at time of day (adjusted for time zone of self-declared location)? That wouldn’t separate out teacher prep time from in-class use entirely, but teachers don’t have all that much prep time during the day. Or is it more important to separate casual viewers from actual teacher-classroom use, either of which might be during school hours?

    Comment by Madeleine Rothberg | November 29, 2010 | Reply


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