Toward an Interactive Hub – Welcome to STEM Education and Training Week! by Jason Ravitz

My name is Jason Ravitz of Evaluation by Design LLC and I’m pleased to kick off this week of blogs for our AEA STEM Education and Training TIG.

A lot of my work focuses on evaluation capacity building and tools to learn and grow better programs in STEM and computer science (CS) education. Today’s post is based on my experiences advising for CSEdresearch.org, and our STEM Education and Training TIG’s evaluation repository (introduced in a prior AEA365 post here).

It’s great to see a growing number of STEM-focused resources to promote high quality evaluation!  We’ve made progress identifying, coding and sharing these.  Now, I think we need to figure out how to promote more meaningful engagement — use, feedback, insights, and collaboration.

Cool Tricks: We’ve been learning how to empower TIG members and our colleagues (through sessions like this) and how to network and share knowledge to keep our collaboration vibrant using strategies some of us created for CS OPEN and teaching evaluation.

Hot Tip:  Using PD for R&D

When I look at repositories today, however, they still remind me of the early days of the web — what pioneering Xerox PARC scientist Pavel Curtis called “the software equivalent of a neutron bomb”.  From collections of lifeless pages, the web has “gone social” in the last 20 years.  I think we need a similar transformation for evaluation resources. 

Let’s keep pushing toward a “hub” like the one pictured and linked below from our colleagues at Oak Ridge Associated Universities to provide what many would like to see — an iterative and systems-focused approach, building on success stories, drawing people in and generating shared knowledge. 

Image of professionals seeking information and support. This picture is also a link.

The best (if not only) way I’ve found to avoid static, “dead” resources is through ongoing professional development — training, workshops, courses, webinars — to crowdsource and democratize sharing.  It worked for educational websites here, and for project-based learning units here and here.  Teaching people to generate, review and submit should be a winning strategy for evaluation resources too!  This approach can break down barriers to innovation, knowledge and expertise (which can become concentrated in too few hands). It also solves the “incentive problem” (why should I submit or review) and the “quality control problem” (who are these reviewers and what do they know).  What do you think?

Rad Resource: Our TIG

Our TIG is becoming a “rad resource” itself.  People join Zoom meetings throughout the year to generate resources, discuss key topics and share opportunities.  There is always room, so come take the lead on what YOU want to see!

Going Forward: Join Us

In May, Kim Kelly will facilitate another online empowerment exercise to set our TIG priorities for the year.  In June, we will review results and plan next steps, with “show and tell” sessions highlighting effective practices.   

Please SHARE YOUR COMMENTS, and join us to contribute!


The American Evaluation Association is celebrating STEM Education and Training TIG Week with our colleagues in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education and Training Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our STEM Education and Training 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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.