AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

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Hi my name is Jayne Corso and I am the Community Manager for AEA.

Twitter is a great tool for staying social at conferences. It provides real-time opportunities for sharing content and insights. Here are a few tips to help you be social during your upcoming conferences! You can even use these at Evaluation 2016.

Follow the Conference Hashtag

Most conferences have a hastag which allows you to follow information and news relating to the event. On Twitter, the pound sign (or hash) turns any word that directly follow it into a searchable link. This allows you to organize content and track discussion topics based on keywords. While at a conference, search for the appropriate hashtag (this will most likely be posted at the conference) to see all discussions taking place around the event. From here you can retweet, or even create your own post to stay active in the conversation. At Evaluation 2016, you can use #Eval16.

Retweet Other Users

While attending a conference, retweet posts by other attendees. Retweeting will allow you to spread content to more followers on Twitter and will give you the opportunity to be included in conversations surrounding the event.

Live Tweet a Session

Sharing insights and quotes from presentations and speakers is a great way to help evaluators who couldn’t attend the conference or decided to attend a different session. Live tweeting also helps you build relationships with the speakers. Find the speaker on twitter and add their twitter handle to your post!

Share Photos of your Experience

Photos are a great way to tell a story about your experience at the conference and allow evaluators who were not able to attend an opportunity to visualize the conference. Photos are dominant on Twitter, meaning your photos will be more likely to be retweeted by other attendees, the conference host, and speakers, expanding your exposer to a larger community.

I can’t wait to see what everyone tweets come October at Evaluation 2016! Follow AEA at @aeaweb and use #Eval16 to follow updates and news about the conference.

follow-namss-on-twitter-2

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Greetings from Jean King and Laura Pejsa from the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute (MESI) at the University of Minnesota. This week we will be introducing you to a crop of graduate student evaluators who (we think) made quite a splash at the AEA conference last month.  If you attended, you may have seen one or more of them filming video interviews, conducting on-the-spot i-Pad surveys, tweeting “Aha” moments, or helping participants identify favorite sessions on the giant TIG visualization. If you were not with us at the conference this year, today’s post will give you some background on this project.

It all started with the local arrangements committee for the AEA conference; the committee wanted to add some sparks of evaluation throughout the week and document experiences not captured on the standard after-conference survey. We created a one-credit, special course at the University of Minnesota titled Creative methods for training and event evaluation, and invited students to join us for a grand experiment. The course and the conference activities would be developed based on the interests and ideas of the students in it.

At our first class meeting, we introduced the students to the goals and history of the conference, provided a place (and food) to come together, and gave them the following loose guidelines:

  • to both pilot and model creative ways of documenting conference experiences;
  • to provide some real-time feedback;
  • to make the evaluation process fun/engaging for conference participants;
  • to explore the potential of emerging technologies;
  • to provide meaningful, usable data to AEA;
  • and to make sure they still had time to attend and enjoy the conference themselves.

Hot Tips

  • You don’t have to look much further than your own back yard for meaningful evaluation experiences for students. Instead of simulating or creating projects, check out the events that may already be happening where a little extra evaluation will go a long way.
  • When it comes to creative methods and technology, students can expand our thinking. Give them an opportunity with relatively low stakes, and see the connections they make between the ways they have learned to use things like social media and the evaluation problem.

This week we will be presenting you with more hot tips, cool tricks, rad resources, and lessons learned from this intrepid group of conference evaluators. Days 2-5 of this week will be written by our four student teams: Survey, Video, Network Visualization, and Twitter. We will wrap up the week with a post summarizing what we learned as instructors that may help others in designing meaningful, real-world evaluation experiences for novice evaluators.

We’re learning all this week from the University of Minnesota Innovative Evaluation Team from Evaluation 2012. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluator.

Hello, I am Carolyn Cohen, owner of Cohen Research & Evaluation, LLC, based in Seattle Washington. I specialize in program evaluation and strategic learning related to innovations in the social change and education arenas.  I have been infusing elements of Appreciative Inquiry into my work for many years.  Appreciative Inquiry is an asset-based approach, developed by David Cooperrider in the 1980s for use in organizational development. It is more recently applied in evaluation, following the release of Reframing Evaluation through Appreciative Inquiry by Hallie Preskill and Tessie Catsambas in 2006.

 Lessons Learned:

Appreciative Inquiry was originally conceived as a multi-stage process, often requiring a long-term time commitment. This comprehensive approach is called for in certain circumstances. However, in my practice I usually infuse discrete elements of Appreciative Inquiry on a smaller scale.  Following are two examples.

  • Launching a Theory of Change discussion. I preface Theory of Change conversations by leading clients through an abbreviated Appreciative Inquiry process.  This entails a combination of paired interviews and team meetings to:
    • identify peak work-related experiences
    • examine what contributed to those successes
    • categorize the resulting themes.

The experience primes participants to work as a team to study past experiences in  a safe and positive environment. They are then  able to craft  strategies, outcomes and goals. These elements become the cornerstone of developing a Theory of Change or a strategic plan, as well as an evaluation plan.

  • Conducting a needs assessment. Appreciative interviews followed by group discussions are a perfect approach for facilitating organization-wide or community meetings as part of a needs assessment process.   AI methods are  based on respectful  listening to each other’s stories, and are well-suited for situations where participants don’t know each other, or have little in common.

Using the resources listed below, you will find many more applications for Appreciative Inquiry in your work.

Rad Resources:

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Hey there. I’m Stephanie Evergreen, AEA’s eLearning Initiatives Director and general data communications geek. Susan Kistler has a family obligation this weekend, so I’m stepping in to share with you the newest developments in AEA’s Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i).

Potent Presentations Logo

You’ve heard about p2i, right? It is a new initiative to help AEA members improve their presentation skills, particularly around delivering conference presentations. We come together once or twice a year to teach each other about our practices and processes, so shouldn’t we do everything we can to make it easy to learn from our presentations? That’s why p2i will feature online and in-person training before and during the annual conference around the three facets of presenting: message, design, and delivery.

We have just launched p2i.eval.org, which will be the hub of this activity.

Rad Resource: Our home page features our upcoming webinar-based training on how to prepare for and deliver an Ignite session. When you receive the proposal status notice for your Ignite session on July 3, head to our site to sign up for one of the two trainings, either on July 17 at 11:30am ET or July 26 at 4pm ET.

Rad Resource: Our first tool to help you rock your conference session is the Presentation Preparation Checklist. Download this PDF to find out what to prepare when, keep yourself on track, and minimize the last minute rush many people experience leading up to a conference presentation. The checklist include time frames specific to this year’s annual conference, October 22-28.

Rad Resource: During the conference we’ll provide a demonstration on research-based effective practices around slide design. But you don’t want to wait until then to begin working on your session slides. So we’ve released the handout for that demonstration already. Head to the p2i site to snag the Slide Design Guidelines (with extra tips for handouts, too). It covers how to handle fonts, graphics, colors, and arrangement and includes links for step-by-step instructions (we’ll add links each month) and awesome extensions of these guidelines from your AEA colleagues.

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I am Susan Kistler, the American Evaluation Association’s Executive Director and regularly aea365 Saturday contributor.

AEA has a few major milestones each year and one is coming up this Friday, March 16 – the deadline for proposal submissions for Evaluation 2012, our annual conference. Evaluation 2012 will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from October 24-27. Between now and Friday, over 1000 people likely will send in submissions to be prepared for peer-review this spring.

If you are an AEA member, you likely may stop reading now – you have or will receive this info via a member email. This post is aimed at our nonmember colleagues who may be considering sharing their knowledge and skills via a presentation at Evaluation 2012.

Lessons Learned Regarding Proposal Submission:

  1. You do not need to be an AEA member to submit a conference proposal.
  2. You may submit a conference proposal on any aspect of the breadth and depth of the field – it does not need to focus on the conference theme.
  3. The acceptance rate for conference proposals in the format in which they were proposed is usually approximately 80%.
  4. You should share your best work, that which is rich in opportunities for learning.

There are over ten different formats for sessions offered at Evaluation 2012, from Roundtables to Panels, Ignite Sessions to Demonstrations. You can learn about each type here. One way to get a feel for the topics usually found on the program is to peruse the searchable Evaluation 2011 Conference Program.

Rad Resource: We’ve made public the recording from a recent Coffee Break Webinar on proposal submission. Via that link, you can also download the webinar handout that includes a tip sheet and submission checklist.

Hot Tip: Learn more about the AEA Annual Conference and review the proposal submission forms and Frequently Asked Questions on the Evaluation 2012 website.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

 

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I’m John Nash and I’m the program co-chair, with Stuart Henderson, for the American Evaluation Association’s new Topical Interest Group, Data Visualization and Reporting (DVR TIG). I’m here to tell you about some innovative events taking place in Anaheim during the 2011 AEA Conference.

Hot Tip: Ignite Yourself at the Conference

You don’t need matches or a lighter, just an interest in evaluation and love of a good time.

The DVR TIG is throwing caution to the wind by dispensing with it’s usual business meeting and devoting its meeting slot to Ignite the Night at AEA

What’s Ignite? It’s a presentation event wherein presenters share their personal and professional passions about some aspect of evaluation, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes. That’s right, those slides keep going whether the presenter wants them to or not.

Do you have five minutes to learn something new? Come to the California Ballroom, Section B, at the Hilton Anaheim, Thursday, November 3, at 7:15 PM. We’ll have snacks to eat, networking events between the talks, and a lot of fun. Expect talks from the likes of David Fetterman, Susan Kistler, Chris Lysy and many more.

Hot Tip: You Can Give an Ignite Talk!

Can you be passionate about something for five minutes? Want to share it with the world? Get in touch about giving an Ignite talk at AEA 2011. Contact John Nash at john.nash@uky.edu for more information.

Rad Resources: AEA’s Ignite the Night on the Web

Visit the IgniteAEA website (www.igniteaea.wordpress.com), follow the event on Twitter via @igniteaea, or check in with us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=250608891640443).

Hot Tip: Get Your Slide On

The DVR TIG is running a special pre-conference slide clinic on Tuesday,

Tuesday, November 2 from 6:00-9:00 pm in the Laguna room. Think of it as slideshow triage. Any AEA presenter can bring her or his conference slides to the clinic and get individualized expert advice on layout, design, and aesthetics. The clinic is a way to promote our TIG’s goal of helping evaluators make their data more clear, so that it more useful and usable for audiences. For more information on the slide clinic contact Stephanie Evergreen at stephanie@evergreenevaluation.com.

This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org.

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My name is Tucker Handley, and I am the treasurer of the Ohio Program Evaluators’ Group (OPEG).  I was approached by the OPEG board to serve as treasurer.  Despite some initial reluctance, I accepted the position and have grown to enjoy the opportunity to work and interact with evaluation professionals throughout the state.

OPEG holds two conferences per year, with one conference in the fall and one in the spring. Benefits of OPEG membership include access to all conference materials on our website as well as the opportunity to be listed as an evaluation consultant.

OPEG has two main payment methods for membership and conference fees.  Individuals and organizations can mail conference and membership payments (i.e., checks and purchase orders) to my home address.  This method remains popular, especially with large institutions such as universities.  In addition, people can pay conference and/or membership fees via credit card on PayPal from our website at www.opeg.org.  This method is a very convenient and efficient way to collect payments, especially for large conferences (for our conference last month, 56 of 88 attendees paid via PayPal).

Hot Tip:  Keep membership fees low to grow membership base – Annual membership in OPEG is $30 for professionals and $20 for students.   OPEG has maintained this price for well over a decade. We did this in order to encourage evaluators to join the organization and have an ongoing relationship with OPEG over time rather than just attending an occasional conference. Establishing a lower student rate encourages students to join the organization and hopefully maintain their membership after graduation.

Hot Tip: Consider using PayPal or other online ‘shopping cart’ service as a means of payment – I find PayPal and easy and convenient way to collect membership fees and conference registrations from my computer.  However, the processing fees per transaction add up over time (PayPal charges a fee of between 3-4% of the transaction amount), and PayPal has a 3-4 day processing delay in transferring funds from our PayPal account to our bank account.

Hot Tip: Registration for OPEG’s interactive and experiential October 13th Fall Workshop, Embracing Change through Evaluation, is now open at www.OPEG.org.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating the Ohio Program Evaluators’ Group (OPEG) Affiliate Week with our colleagues in the OPEG AEA Affiliate. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our OPEG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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I am Susan Kistler, AEA’s Executive Director, and this week I’m posting about two completely separate things: On the one hand, I want to tell you about the AEA conference program and on the other hand, I’m trying out curate.us.

Rad Resource – Evaluation 2011 Searchable Conference Program: This highly searchable online program is a great resource even if you aren’t attending the American Evaluation Association Annual Conference this November in Anaheim (although I truly hope to see you there!).

Clipped from: www.eval.org (share this clip)

Hot Tip for Conference Attendees: The online searchable program includes abstracts for each session. The hardcopy program that you will receive on site does not (if it did, it would be well over 800 pages). Take time in advance to search the online program as it will give you details to help make your decision about which sessions to attend much easier.

Hot Tip for Everyone: The conference program is a great resource for identifying colleagues for collaborative work. Search the program for presentations related to your needs, then reach out via email to network.

Rad Resource Curate.us: Curate.us takes a screenshot of any website and makes it embeddable in email, blogs, and websites. I’m trying it out so that we may add more visual appeal to aea365, but also because it should speed up loading of aea365 on the aea365 website. It’s working well, at least from the back-end – easy to clip, resize the full clip, and embed. I can see all of the clips I’ve made nicely in an archive on the curate.us website. I love being able to add a yellow posty too. And, if you click on the screenshot, I can track clickthroughs. Downsides? It only clips the full width of a site, and I can’t seem to resize the posty.

And, I’m turning to aea365 readers – are there other downsides? Does the above screenshot come through for you well in your email reader or browser? Add to the comments if any problems.

Hot Tip: Try the “share this clip” link that appears right below the screenshot above. It will take you to the interface for curate.us so you can see how it works. Go ahead and play around a bit – you won’t need to log in and you won’t change how the clip looks on aea365.

Hot Tip: On a side note, I could see curate.us being useful to evaluators in other ways, for instance embedding small screenshots in a report as needed, directing colleagues to a site via email, etc. I’ve also discovered that it is a good way to archive notes to myself about particular resources. I take the screenshot and put the note in a posty. Then, I can check on sites for which I have annotations in the curate.us archive.

Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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My name is Susan Kistler and I serve as Executive Director of the American Evaluation Association. I wanted to share information about a few events this summer of special interest to evaluators.

Rad Resource – Mind the Gap: From Evidence to Policy Impact: This conference held earlier this month in Cuernavaca, Mexico was packed with sessions from evaluators around the world. Sponsored by an international coalition, their website is now being populated with session commentary, materials, and video – all free for access and download at:
http://www.impactevaluation2011.org/forum

Hot Tip – Environmental Evaluators Network Forum: Navigating Complexity: The EEN conference focusing on environmental evaluation is coming up this week in Washington, DC. It’s free to attend (but you must pre-register), has nationally and internationally known speakers, and sessions that explore both evaluation fundamentals and applications in the environmental sector. They’ll be uploading materials post-event for those who can’t be there in person.
http://www.environmentalevaluators.net/2011-een-forum-agenda/

Hot Tip – Claremont Graduate University Summer Workshop Series and Stauffer Symposium and Celebration of Michael Scriven’s Career: This longstanding series provides practical and theoretical training in evaluation and applied research through one-day workshops, taught by academics and practitioners from across North America. To be held August 19-22 in Southern California, attending live offers a great opportunity to interact and learn from leaders in the field. Can’t be there in person? All sessions are also offered via live webinar! Registration is required, but affordable. Saturday’s symposium will focus on the “Future of Evaluation in Society” as a tribute to Michael Scriven’s work, and is capped by a celebratory dinner.
http://www.cgu.edu/workshops

Hot Tip – AEA Events Directory: AEA maintains a list of events focusing on evaluation, and related fields and methodologies, that may be found here http://www.eval.org/Training/eventsdir.asp

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Hi, I’m Susan Wolfe. I am the owner of Susan Wolfe and Associates, LLC, an independent consulting firm that applies Community Psychology principles to strengthening organizations and communities.

As an independent consultant and community psychologist, I spend time networking in my local and professional communities.   Networking serves two functions for me.  First, it helps me to learn about the people, organizations, and politics in my local community, so that when I work on local projects I have an understanding of the context.  Second, it gives people and organizations an opportunity to know my business and what we have to offer.  When a project requires an evaluation or one of my peers needs a collaborator, they might call on me first.  An extra benefit is that I have met some interesting people from whom I have learned a lot!  For those of you who work within larger organizations, it helps expands the pool of individuals you can call on for information or assistance and it is useful when you are seeking employment or looking for promotion opportunities.

One way to network is to volunteer and get involved.  If there is an issue you are interested in working on, or an area you would like to learn more about, then see if there is a coalition or group that meets to discuss it and join it.  Within your professional association, seek out volunteer opportunities and leadership positions.

HOT TIP #1:  AEA posts volunteer opportunities on its website and invites members to complete a Volunteer Interest and Capacity Inventory and write blogs.  There are also opportunities available through the various TIGs.

Another way to network is to attend events, workshops, and conferences.  At the local level attending topical programs or skills-based workshops is one way to meet people with common interests to yours and learn something at the same time.  Professional associations often provide pre-conference workshops.  When you attend conferences, attend presentations by individuals who share your interests and talk with them afterward.  If you arrive early to a presentation, strike up a conversation with the person next to you.

HOT TIP #2: Workshops sponsored by AEA or The Evaluators’ Institute are a great way to sharpen your skills and get to know your peers.

One way to network with other evaluators is to join your local evaluation group.  If there is none in your area, then form one yourself.  It can be as simple as getting all local evaluators together at a local coffee shop or restaurant a few times a year.

Whether you work as an independent consultant, or work for a larger organization, networking is important for building your business or career.  It is worth investing the time and effort.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Independent Consultants (IC) TIG Week with our colleagues in the IC AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our IC  TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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