My name is Melissa Cater, and I am an assistant professor and evaluation specialist at Louisiana State University AgCenter. I also coordinate and contribute to the eXtension Evaluation Community of Practice (Eval CoP) blog.
Rad Resource – eXtension Evaluation Community Blog: The Eval CoP blog is a resource for evaluators of all levels from novice to expert. Content covers the basics of designing and conducting evaluations. It also centers on practical ideas for evaluating programs in nonformal educational settings like Cooperative Extension, libraries, and museums, just to name a few. Our blog is relatively new with content posted one to four times each month on Friday.
Hot Tips – favorite posts: Two recent series of posts focused on survey design and social media evaluation. Here is a sample of posts from those series:
- Survey Design: Golden Rules of Survey Development: This post by Monica Hargraves provides simple guidelines to follow when designing a new survey instrument of when adapting and existing instrument.
- Survey Design: Testing, Monitoring and Revising: Often, we forget the importance of both pretesting and, later, reviewing and modifying our surveys. Michael Duttweiler highlights the importance of those steps as well as monitoring survey implementation.
- Measuring Twitter Reach and Engagement: With the rise of social media, Sarah Baughman shares tools for tracking reach in the form of tweets and engagement through retweets.
Lessons Learned – why I blog: As professional development needs increased and travel dollars decreased, I found myself turning to more informal types of professional development. Blogs quickly became my favored means of learning. I appreciated the anytime, anyplace access to learning. The more I learned, the more I felt the need to give back to our field through blogging. As our Cooperative Extension evaluation community of practice evolved, our group has embraced the flexibility the blog provides for connecting with colleagues through shared work and a shared product.
Lessons Learned – what I’ve learned: Blogging is hard work. Early lessons I learned were to generate content ideas for several months at a time, to set aside a specific time and day of the week to work on the blog, and to create a system for engaging and following up with contributors.
This winter, we’re continuing our series highlighting evaluators who blog. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.