Friday, 16 January 2009

Evaluation Meeting- Birmingham 15th January 2009

This meeting was my first chance to really immerse myself in the project and I was looking forward to meeting our critical friend Malcolm Ryan and the others from the JISC support network. I was very interested in having a chance to meet with people from our sister projects - particularly those in our cluster. I am hoping that as our projects progress our links will grow stronger and we will develop ways of supporting each other.

The venue in Birmingham was an excellent one as was flexible and spacious enough to accommodate and encourage all the meetings - scheduled and unscheduled, formal and informal that took place. It really brought home to me how a space can really influence the productivity and the modality of the events that occur within it.

Reflecting on the evaluation of chocolate chip cookies ( see Mark's previous entry) , which was one of the exercises the we performed to stimulate a discussion on evaluation, made me think about how evaluation should be right there at the design process. Chocolate chip cookies do not appear naturally in nature (at least not in Hertfordshire) therefore there will have been (- I would hope) an evaluation policy before the biscuits were put into general production. This would not have been the case with say a banana - which does occur naturally in nature. We can evaluate it - but it is an artificial evaluation one that we will impose on it from our perspective. We want to eat it so we want it to taste nice, be nutritious and not poison us. This occurs by chance ......not design.

This simple exercise has really made me think about evaluation an how it is so important for it to be there right at the planning and design stage.

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