TOE TIG Week: Using Mural in Your Evaluation Course by Kelly McGinn

Kelly McGinn
Kelly McGinn

Hello, AEA! I am Kelly McGinn, Assistant Professor in the College of Education and Human Development at Temple University, where I teach our undergraduate program evaluation course. Due to the shift to virtual learning this year, I had to rethink how I engage with my students. I am typically a very hands-on practice-oriented instructor, and I had never taught an online course before. At first, I struggled to find ways to translate my typical teaching practice online. That is until I discovered Mural

What is Mural?

Mural is a digital workspace for visual collaboration. This tool allowed my students and I to communicate visually using sticky notes, flowcharts, and drawing. There are also cool features like voting and timers.

screenshot of Mural website
Screenshot of Mural website

How I used Mural

  • I created an account for myself. Then when it was time to share my mural with the class, I could send them a guest link. They did not have to have individual Mural accounts themselves.
  • When lesson planning, I could create a Mural template that my students and I would use in class later that week. For instance, ahead of time, I created a template for us to use when developing a logic model together.
image of Mural page with inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes and impact
  • I often used the outline feature to guide students to different areas of the mural. For instance, students in Breakout Room 1 could click on “Breakout Room 1” in the outline and it takes them to their logic model box, where they could work with their group members to develop their logic model.
  • I often included a “Directions” tab in the outline, where I would explain the task and demo the necessary features.
image of Mural page with HDCE Logic model and sticky notes with arrows

image of "outcomes" page on Mural and virtual sticky notes with "increase the number of students who are offered a job after graduation" and "increase in the number of students going to graduate school"
  • There are several other cool features; one of which is a voting tool. After students had a chance to brainstorm in their groups, we were able to vote on the logic model components we felt were appropriate. Here you can see the number of students who voted for each of the outcomes they felt fit in this model.

Hot Tips:

Here are a few ideas for when to use Mural when teaching evaluation:

  1. Icebreakers or “Getting to know you” activities: Mural has many already-created templates that promote team building. I used a relay race type game in my class. Each group had a perform a number of tasks together. This game helped them get to know Mural, as well as each other.
  2. Creating a logic model: Across several class sessions we build a program’s logic model together.
  3. Developing evaluation questions: We used Mural to brainstorm evaluation questions for our group project.
  4. Creating an evaluation matrix: Mural helped us work together to write indicators and decide which evaluation tools we would use.
  5. Writing survey items: We used Mural to collaborate when developing our survey that we planned to distribute for our class project.

The ways to collaborate virtually using Mural are endless. The Teaching of Evaluation TIG would love to hear your ideas! Tweet your reflections using the hashtag #TeachingofEval21, and we can continue the conversation on the twitterverse!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating TOE TIG Week with our colleagues in the Teaching of Evaluation Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our TOE 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. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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