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    • #19214
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      TalkPhysics is making progress, especially given that the Education department of the IOP hadn’t tried anything like this before. For instance, many users are downloading the SPT resources, it does provide some multimedia facilities (compared to plain text email) and a few users (on top of those employed by the IOP) are beginning to use the site to discuss the teaching of physics. However, the ideal would be to have users beginning discussions about teaching for themselves.

      Overall, I think we’ve learnt that Elgg is not as configurable as we expected (or that we were being more demanding that we’d realised!). There is sufficient work that still needs to be done that we’re planning two months’ of a developer’s time, from late August through to late October, to iron out the worst of our known problems (e.g. users not appearing in the invite members page), for me to test the site with a group of users and then make it is usable as possible based on the results.

      We will not be able to fix everything or make drastic changes, but the tasks that most people use most often (e.g. posting a comment, setting up a group) should become more intuitive, with far fewer bugs.

      We will, by the end of October, have spent more than the original budget. For any significant change beyond that, we’d have to make a very strong case to either the Department for Education, or within the IOP itself, that spending say, another £10k on TalkPhysics will bring more benefit than spending it on physics network co-ordinator salaries or running Summer Schools, and particularly what value that £10k would bring if a significant number of users are not already using the site to discuss teaching.

      I’m optimistic that with the changes already in the pipeline, plus the two month’s work in late Summer (especially bringing to bear all our experience with the site so far), we’ll get TalkPhysics into a state where enough users are comfortable using it for discussions that it really takes off.

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