|A resource kit for evaluating community IT projects|
The Research Project
The EvaluateIT resource kit grew out of two research projects at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane: the LEARNERS project and the Information Literacy Resource Kit project. A QUT Community Service grant funded the design of the EvaluateIT website.
The LEARNERS project has involved a QUT research team and five industry partners working with people in the Tara and Stanthorpe Shires in rural Queensland to help them evaluate their community IT projects. The aim was to assist these communities in improving their IT projects in ways that better met community needs. LEARNERS stands for Learning, Evaluation, Action & Reflection for New technologies, Empowerment & Rural Sustainability.
Workshops, teleconferences, an email discussion list and other methods were used to involve different community groups in the project. With support and advice from the researchers, community members came together to plan and conduct evaluations of their community websites and IT training and to review the evaluation methods they used. They also identified ways their IT projects could be improved and actions to be taken. This approach to evaluating IT projects was called EvaluateIT.
The research team gave the community groups information and advice, evaluated the various project activities, and wrote case studies about the activities in the two communities. They used this feedback and information to help them develop the EvaluateIT resource kit.
Funding for the LEARNERS project was provided by an Australian Research Council (ARC) SPIRT grant and an Assisting Rural Women Leadership grant from the Office for Women, Queensland government. This three year project will end in October 2004. Industry partners in the project are:
The Information Literacy Resource Kit project
The related Information Literacy Resource Kit project is being conducted by QUT researchers in collaboration with the State Library of Queensland. This project has also helped to develop the EvaluateIT resource kit. Focus groups were held in Stanthorpe, Tara, Charters Towers and Townsville to obtain feedback on the resource kit from librarians, community development officers, interested community members and others. The kit was used to evaluate the Internet training courses held in Townsville and Charters Towers as part of the State Library's successful Skills.net roadshow project.