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Bloggers Series: Sheila B. Robinson on Evaluspheric Perceptions

I’m Sheila B. Robinson*, an educator and avid learner who works for Greece Central School District and the University of Rochester. I teach evaluation courses, do some evaluation work, and have recently become a blogger.

Rad Resource – Evaluspheric Perceptions – Reflections of an everyday evaluator/learner/educator exploring the evalusphere: I started in November with each weekly post relating broadly to evaluation. My intent is to share resources, pose questions and encourage dialogue and the exchange of ideas.

Hot Tips – favorite posts:  As of this writing, I have only a few posts, but here are those I’ve most enjoyed composing and that others have clicked on or “liked.”

  • What is the “evalusphere” anyway? I coined the term, so I explain it!
  • Can a dataviz novice become a slide snob? With a growing interest in data visualization, I wrote about registering for Alberto Cairo’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization, suggested a new branch for Alkin and Christie’s Evaluation Theory Tree, and shared an updated PowerPoint slide as evidence of my new learning. In retrospect, this post could have been expanded into three, but that’s one of the many lessons learned as a new blogger.
  • Like an evaluator in a data store… I shared a silly thought about evaluation with fellow blogger Chris Lysy and he drew me a fabulous cartoon with this clever caption.
  • Why Blog? Because I wondered why others blog, I reread 25 posts from the last aea365 Blogger series. Ever the evaluator, I did little analysis and tried out a new tech tool to present my results.

Lessons Learned – why I blog: Honestly…I really don’t know! Perhaps it’s a natural extension of a passion for learning, exploring, and connecting with people, coupled with a love for reading and writing, especially about research and evaluation. In fact, I’ve just met another evaluation blogger with similar interests, and we’re having a great time exchanging ideas to co-author a series of posts we’ll publish on both blogs.

Lessons Learned – what I’ve learned: Like many, I was a reluctant blogger with the same concerns as others. Do I have something to offer? Can I persist and post regularly? Where will I find ideas? Fortunately, I took advice to cast aside my reservations and just begin. One welcome surprise has been the support and encouragement from fellow bloggers. Another is Twitter as a tremendous source of inspiration where those I follow tweet a copious and perpetual stream of articles, blog posts, and pictures.

Hot Tip: Inspiration strikes in the shower, the car, and the middle of the night, and the brain just starts composing. Have a recording device or paper and pen everywhere!

*formerly Sheila Robinson Kohn

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 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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