I’ve been asked to write a short case study profile of ds106 for a book someone is writing about online teaching and the question came up about how many people have participated in it. I’ve been tinkering at the main site to compile a semester by semester history.
But yes, size and numbers.
We know from courses taught at UMW since 2010, about 300 students have participated, and from the other previous classes elsewhere that have had students connect their blogs to ds106 (Temple University, Japan, SUNY Cortland, York College, Kansas State University, Jacksonville State University, Kennesaw State College) might be added another 200 students.
Since we subscribe to the blogs of all people who participate, that should be a number we can get at. Currently there are 621 blogs we subscribe to; 63 have been de-activated because they are no longer active (if a site disappears, we can turn off the subscription and point links to the local copied versions of all blog posts), but we have also deleted from the subscription list some dead blogs completely in the past.
Even that is a bit fuzzy as because some urls submitted never publish anything.
Okay, I will roll up my sleeves again, and dive into the database. I construct a query to find all blog posts in the main site (most are ones we bring in via Feed2JS, but there are locally authored ones for the site) — these are the post_type=post and ones that are published (post_status=publish). If I then group them by author (where author is mostly a blog site we subscribe to), I know how many different authors there by how many rows are returned. By hooking the query into the users table, I can also produce an output that lists te author and count, in descending order.
Here is the query (and note I am a MySQL query mangler, I think this is correct):
SELECT wu.display_name, count(*) as postcount FROM wp_posts as wp, wp_users as wu WHERE wp.post_type='post' AND wp.post_status = 'publish' AND wu.id = wp.post_author GROUP BY wu.display_name ORDER BY postcount DESC
The end result is 785 – meaning that we have had 785 blogs create content that resides now in ds106, or 785 people that at least syndicated in one post.
Okay, so that is not 160,000 or 60,000, not really massive… but I would say significant. Or interesting. Or neatorama.
As a side benefit, we get a neat scoreboard, and you can see in this screen shot of the top 15 that I am closing on on Jim Groom’s (NOBODY) blog count:
Five of these are people who have taught ds106, but of the rest eight of the all time top ds106 bloggers (by volume) are UMW students, and two are open online participants.
Because we have been tagging the classes that are associated with ds106, there are some ways we can get at doing some queries (I think) that could pull some stats by section.
And by the way, if you are teaching a ds106-ish class in 2013 and want to have your students blogs be part of the mix, just fill out our svelte form and we will make you part of the mix.
Not massive, but we do have some big measures here.