cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by wester

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 Currently there are 621 blogs we subscribe to; 63 have been de-activated because they are no longer active (if a site disappears, we can turn off the subscription and point links to the local copied versions of all blog posts), but we have also deleted from the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):

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.

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by kbaird

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I want a recount, your massive numbers are questionable. Nobody blogs as much as I do. NOBODY!

    Margaret Walker’s blog got pulled in twice, as did Danielle Minter’s in the attempt to archive—though even at half their total the numbers for those two are impressive. Also, Jen Orr did a few ds106 posts, but the number there are all her posts from her blogger, most of which have nothing to do with ds106 at all. Maura Monoahan, too, had a blog she was using before and after ds106—much of that is other stuff.

    What is really interesting to me is how awesome the students with so many posts were. Sarah Kountz, Linda McKenna, Annie Truslow, Alan Liddell, and Margaret Walker five of the best ds106ers I have yet to teach. Interesting how the number posts pretty neatly lines-up with their awesomeness. Which is why I am at the top of this list :)

    So, moral of the story numbers lie.Which is what we already learned from MOOCs :)

    1. True dat, and thanks for the background on stats, which are usually questionable. Regardless, the numbers even adjusted are impressive (sadly I think Margaret’s blog is gone?)

      And yes there is a prob when people do not give us a ds106 specific feed; when we did it manually there was a bit of a check, but with the more automated system, well.

      As far as NOBODY, what has NOBODY blogged for ds106 lately? ha ha ha.

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