Landing : Athabascau University

Resilence- could the Landing Make a diffference for AU students?

This is a brief (and quite critical) review of resilience, including work by myself and Martin Weller on the concept of "resilience" as relates to higher education. The ideas are of course even more important for distance education, with our historical (and current ) higher drop out rates than in campus based education systems.

The focus on integration reinforces my belief that the Landing could be a VERY important tool for Athabasca- especially in self=paced programming. By why the low adoption of the Landing???



  • Jeffrey Pinto November 7, 2014 - 6:26pm


    If I were looking to increase the use of the Landing I'd focus on two areas.

    Initial Introduction to the Landing

    In social networks like Facebook & LinkedIn we initially re-create our existing physical connections digitally. This establishes a critical mass of initial users with which we can get a glimpse of the tool's possibilities. A user's initial experience with the Landing is going to permanently colour how the see it. How do you get a new user up and running on the site in a meaningful way without having that initial group of friends and family present?

    Usability / User Experience

    Has the usability and user experience of the site been externally audited? What are the key features you'd like to see people using on the Landing? Has their usability been benchmarked against other popular tools offering these features to make sure that the site feels current, intuitive and fun? 

    I've just landed on the Landing and I'm still figuring out how it's meant to work. I share your view that it would be valuable to create an online third place for AU students, staff and faculty.


  • Susan Bainbridge November 8, 2014 - 2:13am

    Hi Terry,

    What is missing from The Landing is any realtime forms of communication. When I enter The Landing I 'feel' alone. I can't see who is online, there is no ability to chat with one of my connections (again) in realtime. Jeff mentions it above when he says: Does "the site feels current, intuitive and fun"?

    The Wire has the potential of Twitter, but because it is just one thread, rather than individual pages for each member, it tends to work more like a bulletin board because if I want to reply to a post I know it's going out to the entire Landing membership, rather than to my followers. This takes the 'fun' factor away immediately and makes The Wire feel more austentatious/formal than it should be.

    Jeff knows more about design than I, but one example of ease of use is the fact that when I enter The Landing I see no notices. I have to click on 'You' to see messages etc. Sometimes I forget. I want The Landing to show me immediately when I enter, any messages, or communiques I have (like Facebook does with the red notices top right of page).

    When I go to my own profile on The Landing it 'feels' dead. I followed a large number of people when I first joined, but what is next? When I enter my profile it would be 'fun and interactive' for example if I could scroll through the people I follow and if they had posted, or messaged me, or commented on my post, there would be a blue circle on their avatar.

    Bottom line: Members need to be able to communicate with each other - one-to-one, in groups, in real time not in asynchronous forum style. You and Jon have done an amazing job with The Landing, but now we need to breath air into it to help it come 'alive'.

  • Hongxin Yan November 13, 2014 - 3:40pm

    Hi Terry,

    Another factor of making a social networking tool popular is to mobilize it. Many people don't use desktop computer to connect. Mobile devices provide the opportunities for texting thoughts or sharing ideas on the go.


  • Terry Anderson November 14, 2014 - 1:13pm

    Thanks for your comments Hongzin, Susan and Jeff.

    It is very inetresting to observe the type of colonization that takes place in this medium.  Actually at Athabasca, most faculty have "gone digital" to the extend of email, WP, Powerpoint - but all contained within individual digital machines.  The shared spaces built on the Landing COULD act as Third Places (as you suggested) but are not really mirrored in real life by our distributed staff and students.   But the useability issues are legion!.  We just have had no money, energy or high skill levels to put into the Landing Interface yet.  Waiting for more builders!

    Susan, We have tested text and audio chats. Notification issues always arise, and seems a host of other issues related to browsers, etc.  Jon could talk more. We have a text chat installed for our next test version, but support from CS is VERY slow at this time.  But you note useability issues as well.

    Hongzin, we did spend time and energy making the Landing reasonably accessible on mobile devises. Have you checked it out?  But I don't think that is the real issue for the Landing, E-Portfolio and even Moodle.   I think most students use larger displays for a great of thier word processing, graphics and other applications and most access the Landing that way - even if they own smart phones. Hongzin, what type of interaction would you be looking for from a mobile? Everything?

    Jeff perhas you could do something on the Landing for a Thesis or independent study.