Global University Rankings Web 1.0 and Web 2.0

Ignore the Global University Rankings, its Web 1.0
This site uses counts on inbound links among 300 universities to develop a rating scheme for each of the universities. Its a “reputation” type of system, the more times that other universities link to your university, the higher your university’s ranking. The chart shows that Washington State University’s ranking of 123 results from substantially fewer links (its nonlinear) than top rated schools.

It would be interesting to locate the AAU schools and see how many links we need to become AAU-like. Which begs the question, what would WSU need to do differently to move up the ranks from rank 123?

There is a tension in this plan, because it expects the university community to work from within the university’s domain to build its reputation. We can debate if this blog constitutes “good” content, but as the rating system above works, it will not attract more score for WSU, since its not within university’s domain. And its not here, for reasons I stated when I launched it — basically, who’s reputation do I want to build anyway?

First step to getting more links is to put good content into our website. Competing with putting content on the web site is putting it in refereed publications. Until the university changes how it thinks about self-publishing and building a reputation in Web 2.0, terms its not likely to win this battle.

Analysis of Global Rankings in Web 1.0 terms

The Web 2.0 Analysis
The Global University Rankings are trying to be reputation based, but the reputation needs to be earned wider than on other university domains. As designed, this is the Broadcast model, but reputation is really about community. Its unlikely that our Marketing or News organizations will be building many links to other universities, and the same applies in reverse. So the linking needs to come from students, faculty and staff, pointing at good work at other places. That sounds a lot like communities of bloggers, linking one another and resources they find useful. Students and faculty would blogroll the university if they found selfish reasons, such as good networking, would come from connecting to the university.

So, where I get in this analysis is that, in a Web 2.0 world, users will build from the platforms that work for them, and those are not necessarily platforms within the university domain. Further, I think there is an argument here that the university is ill suited to establish the platforms that are needed — because the platforms, like Flickr or del.icio.us demand larger numbers of participants to be rich and interesting than the university can muster.
The Web 2.0 analysis

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