Who Uses The MyMMU Portal

Over the weekend I had a quick look at our user base and see who uses the portal the most.

Of our top five users the gender split was 3 females and 2 males and we have 4 undergrads and one postgrad. With the undergrads having one first year, two second years and one year three.

Our Top 5 are

Combined Honours Biology/Forensic Science year 3 66 pages a day

Leisure Management year 1 54 pages a day

International fashion management year 2 52 pages a day

Criminology year 2 51 pages a day

Msc Biomedical Science 43 pages a day

It would be interesting to see if there is a link with use and sucuess

Use of Microsoft’s Log Parser to parse IIS files

Been looking at Microsoft’s Log parser program to parse the IIS log files associated with our Sharepoint portal. Its an excellent tool very easy to use. Below is an example where I wanted the ID and date users have logged into the portal, but I was not concerned with multiple log-ins per day

the command is logparser -o:CSV i:IISW3C “SELECT DISTINCT cs-username,date INTO Finename.csv FROM wildcard.log WHERE cs-username<>NULL”

the -o:CSV means the outpit file format is CSV

-i:IISW3 is theoinput file in extended IIS format

date of course is the date and cs-username is the id of the person logging in

and you can use wildcards for the names of the log files you want to parse so for example e*.log will parse all the file that start with e and have the suffix log

What can Live@edu offer MMU?

Live@edu CBS3M7G3P32Q
This is a web based email system offered by Microsoft to the education community. For a very Microsoft view on what they offer it’s worth going to http://www.microsoft.com/liveatedu/free-hosted-student-email.aspx, but as a quick overview this is what we are offering our students
• 10 GB Mail area
• 25 GB Skydrive (an online storage solution)
• Calendaring
• Contacts
• Office Live
• Ties in very well to smart phones be they Iphones or windows based ones

For how its been used please see http://lrt.mmu.ac.uk/podcast/2010/01/21/more-on-case-study-1/

I believe the strength of this tool is not the email but the other tools such as SkyDrive, Bloggs and Office Live. In this Blog I will just address what can be done with Office live and will return to the other tools at a later date

The OfficeLIve tool allows students to use templates that can act as aids. Below is just an example of some of the templates available

Class Workspace
Improve your grades using a contact list, date list, class notes, essay outline, and syllabus.

Essay Workspace
Manage your term paper or thesis with a term paper outline, thesis template, milestone list, and more.

Event Workspace
Plan a successful event with an invitation, flyer, agenda, attendee list, to-do list, and more.

Household Workspace
Share a to-do list, contact list, grocery list, and more with family members or housemates.

Job Search Workspace
Organize your job search using an interview schedule, preparation notes, cover letter, resume template, and more.

Meeting Workspace
Improve productivity using meeting notes, minutes archive, attendee list, and a to-do list.

Project Workspace
Manage your project with a schedule, participant list, presentation template, to-do list, and more.

School Workspace
Organize your school information using a semester schedule, contact list, and more.

Sports Team Workspace
Share a team roster, season schedule, snack schedule, and more with players, parents, and fans.

Study Group Workspace
Manage your study group using meeting notes, an event list, a report template, and more.

Travel Workspace
Manage your business trip or vacation using a packing list, trip itinerary, checklist, and more.

As you can see the templates cover useful and and it must be said some not so useful. But its ability to allow collaboration ties everything together. Students and staff can share Work-spaces with named individuals invited by email. So for example say a group was undertaking a group assignment they could use the assignment template and a workspace dedicated to that assignment. Set dead lines, and other milestones allowing all of them to work in the same area see how the differing parts are progressing. Peer pressure would make ensure the work was being done as all the group could see all the files as students would not be able to say yes its coming along!


National Student Survey

Rachel McAlpine the Quality Enhancement Officer from Centre for Academic Standards and Quality Enhancement (CASQE) asked if we could put a link on the front page of my.mmu.ac.uk to the National Student Survey. To avoid the Twitter page being sent down the page we added a Content web part on the same level as the Twitter web part. To jazz up the link we used a graphic from the NSS site

National Student Survey
National Student Survey

MyMMU Usage over the Christmas Holidays

I was interested to see how the usage of My MMU the student/staff portal held up over the Christmas break. As you would expect there was a a reduction from the average of 8,000 distinct users during term time to a high of just over 3,100. Christmas day had the lowest usage of 909 logins, usage has grown up to 3109 on Sunday 3rd January 2010

My MMU Usage
My MMU Usage

Office 2010 Useful Blogs

Microsoft’s blogs on Office 2010 are well worth reading

http://blogs.technet.com/office2010/default.aspx This is the engineering blog

and the web apps blog is http://blogs.msdn.com/officewebapps/

I love the office web apps I can see how they will be used everywhere within a few years

Have a look at the Powerpoint blog on http://blogs.msdn.com/powerpoint/archive/2009/11/11/powerpoint-on-the-web-editing.aspx

Sheffield University Information Commons

On Thursday 3/12/2009 Dee Vyas and I visited Sheffield University Information Commons, below are my impressions

The Information Commons is a joint venture between the Library and Computing Services to provide the students with an informal working environment. It comprises of seven floors, floors 5 and 6 being computer labs while floors 1 to 4 are a mixture of Library and computer resources interlaced with informal seating. Floor 0 is a café with 20 quick visit computers and information screens. The information screens show what group room are free, how many pcs are free and what pcs have been pre-booked by students. The whole of the building has Wi-Fi.

The overall feel of the building is one of calm and a place where one can work in an informal way. This feeling is achieved by good architecture, high quality finishing and clever use of lighting and acoustic dampening.


The overall lighting level is low with the light spectrum being biased towards the blue end of the spectrum reinforcing the calm feeling. The level would be below normal working level but all the desk areas have their own desk lamps, allowing users to select their own light levels. The table lamp design allows the user to fix a coloured filter if they wish.

The Library shelving is standard library metal shelving with mini florescent tubes activated by a PIR allowing the browser sufficient light, while at the same time not impacting on the overall light levels.

Acoustic feel

The whole of the Commons is very quiet by MMU standards, but staff say is does get nosier during very busy periods. How this calm is achieved is a mixture of clever design and social control. People tend to talk below normal levels but as there is a lack of background noise students don’t feel the need to increase their levels to compensate.

Help Desk

The help desk is staffed by three staff from computing services and the Library; it is situated on floor 1. The staff are very student focused and are willing to help students with any problems they may have. The staff answer computer and library questions interchangeably but refer the more complex ones to their colleagues from the relevant service.

Computing Services offer laptop and PC support to students and staff; they will install software, remove virus/malware and diagnose hardware problems. Staff on the help desk act as a first contact but will refer the problem to computing services in the next door building. As a service they appear to be very focused on solving problems with no distinction between University and student owned computers.


All the computers are thin client computers with the desk top being delivered to the user. Each desk has its own desk lamp as mentioned before. The overall working area is small but none of the students found it to be a problem. Computers are split into three general groups

  1. Quick Print. The computer will only allow a user to log on for a maximum of 20 minutes, while being called quick print they have the normal desktop applications allowing quick editing as well as printing.
  2. Drop-in Computers. These are scattered around floors 1 to 6. These computers are as the name suggests available on a first come first served basis.
  3. Pre-booked computers. These are in computer rooms on floors 5 and 6 these can be booked for a periods of up to four hours. They can only be booked up to 48 hours in advance. Students can book on-line or at the Help Desk.

Printers and Photocopiers

Floors 1 to 4 have a Business zone containing printers and photocopiers while the computer rooms on floors 5 and 6 have their own printers and photocopiers. Printing charges are the same as MMU for black & white 5p per A4 sheet. The printers are set to duplex printing as default, colour is 25p. The zone also has a Library Self Service Terminal

The floors

Each floor has female and male toilets and a water fountain. Recycling bins are on each floor covering plastic, paper and general waste.

Each floor has a huddle board but little evidence of use.

Floor 0 is the entrance, students scan their student cards to gain access and on our visit had two security staff on duty monitoring comings and goings. It has the café and 20 quick use PCs and two Library Self Service terminals.

Floor 1 has the help desk, a laptop zone which comprises desks with power and of course the mixture of informal seating, computer desks and book shelving.

Floors 2 to 4 are identical being a mixture of informal seating, computer desks and book shelving. Each floor has a silent work room, and it was very well self-policed by the students.

Floors 5 and 6 are computer drop-ins, and while floor 6 in theory is a silent drop-in, it was no different in sound levels to the one on floor 5.