Sarah Goodier, ROER4D’s Evaluation Advisor, reflects on the ROER4D workshop held in April in Banff, Canada and provides some insights into the focus of the project’s evaluation activities.
From 20-21 April 2015, ROER4D held its 2nd workshop, which took place in Banff, Canada. This provided an opportunity for all the project researchers from across the global South to meet face-to-face. Also at the workshop were Ricardo Ramirez and Dal Brodhead – part of the DECI-2 team who are mentoring Sukaina Walji (ROER4D’s Communications Advisor) and myself. This has been a highlight for me in my work in the ROER4D project so far as it was my first opportunity to meet everyone, including my mentors, in person since I started as the project’s evaluation advisor in September last year.
It was also a timely opportunity for some data collection, and I ran two focus groups to collect ROER4D researchers’ thoughts on and experiences of the ROER4D Network Hub’s research capacity building and communication activities as well as how the project may have influenced their professional network. This data will feed into the ongoing evaluation of the ROER4D Project and the Network Hub’s activities.
Immediately following the workshop was the Open Education Global Conference, which ran from 22-24 April. I presented on the development of ROER4D’s evaluation strategy using Utilisation Focussed Evaluation (UFE) as the framework (for a step-by-step introduction to the UFE framework, see this slideshare). As this was my first presentation on this work to both the broader ROER4D project members as well as others outside of the project, I covered the basics: the ROER4D project evaluation context and the scope of the evaluation in the project, highlighting which of the project objectives are being evaluated. I went on to provide a snapshot of some insights so far, focused on communications and social media, which have been a key focus of the evaluation work so far. These insights have and will help to feedback into the project planning for forthcoming project activities. While the conference was primarily focused around open education and OERs, this evaluation work can potentially provide a useful case example of using UFE to gain insights into a multi-national project.