A resource kit for evaluating community IT projects
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Suggested ways of using EvaluateIT

EvaluateIT is a flexible resource kit that can be used to undertake a simple, informal review of an IT project or a more formal and detailed evaluation. Our aim is for this kit to be practical and useful for groups without any detailed knowledge or skills in evaluation. However, if you are unfamiliar with some evaluation methods that you would like to use, you may need extra help or training. This could come from other people in your organisation or community, from people or organisations outside your community (such as online universities), or from other resources, such as those on this website.

Of course, you'll need people willing to engage and give feedback in order to evaluate your project, but once your group is ready to go this is the ideal tool to use. The following provides some suggested ways of using the EvaluateIT kit as part of a series of workshops in your community.

Organising the first workshop

  • Form the initial group that's interested in doing the evaluation or review and identify the key group members who are willing to organise an initial workshop that would last about two to three hours.
  • Invite someone from outside your group to facilitate the workshop. This will enable everyone in the evaluation group to more easily take part in the workshop. The facilitator should be interested in your IT project, and understand the EvaluateIT steps and the action research process used. They could be a school teacher, a community development officer, a Landcare officer, or suitable person in your organisation.
  • Ask everyone in the group to have a look at the EvaluateIT website or a copy of the relevant text from the website before the first workshop so that they have some understanding of the EvaluateIT steps and questions.
  • Interested members of your group could check out of some of the resources in the EvaluateIT site before your workshop that could be useful to your evaluation. They include short information sheets on evaluation, brainstorming, small group facilitation, and focus groups, and links to other tools for conducting evaluations.
  • Get Adobe Acrobat ReaderYou will ideally need a laptop with Internet access and a projector at the workshop so that everyone can see the EvaluateIT website. If this is not available, make photocopies of the pages you need for all the workshop participants. (Print out these pages from the printable version of the EvaluateIT kit: .pdf > | .doc >
  • Organise some butchers paper and a stand or a whiteboard and coloured markers to record and publicly display the ideas you've brainstormed and your responses to the questions.

Conducting the workshops

  • With help from your facilitator, work through each of the four EvaluateIT steps in a series of workshops. Depending on the type of evaluation you are going to conduct, it may be possible to complete Steps 1 and 2 and part of Step 3 in one workshop.
  • Nominate one person in your group to take notes of the main ideas, decisions and actions to be taken and then type them up and circulate them to the group after the workshop.
  • If you get stuck at any time, look at the 'More help with these questions' link in the step you are working on or the example provided.
  • At the end of each workshop it is very useful to critically reflect on what worked, what didn't work so well and how you could have improved your workshop. This will help to make the next workshop more successful.

Using various communication technologies

Workshops are a valuable method for using the EvaluateIT kit. However, some people who are interested in taking part in your evaluation may be unable to attend workshops due to the travel time and costs involved. Using the following communication technologies can be a useful means of including these community members:

  • You could set up an email discussion group to organise workshops and meetings, gather ideas from people before the workshop, circulate workshop notes and drafts of evaluation tools for feedback, and to continue discussions following the workshops.
  • You could link remote people to your meetings or workshops through teleconferences or videoconferences. Many Learning Network Queensland centres also have CentraOne online conferencing technology and smartboards which could be used to link to people outside the community with specialist knowledge that you need to access, or to share learnings with people in other communities who are using the EvaluateIT kit.

Other ways that you could use your local media and communication technologies in the evaluation are:

  • Organise a spot on a local radio program to talk about the evaluation and encourage community members to get involved.
  • Send a media release about the evaluation to your local newspaper.
  • Place information about the evaluation and its results, and feedback forms or surveys on a community website.
  • Send information about the evaluation to local email interest groups or online networks.