UKOER evaluation toolkit: evaluation buddies

What   is an Evaluation Buddy?

We are aware that there are many different ways for UKOER projects to connect and have been impressed with the amount of collaboration and sharing that occurs in the JISC Programme.  We have asked projects to team up with another project or projects that have some areas of connection in relation to evaluation (i.e.) the questions they are addressing through their work and the kinds of answers and evidence that we anticpate.

An evaluation buddy is basically another project who can:

  •  check that evaluation plans are sensible, credible, valid, do-able, relevant to programme aims
  • provide peer review of content, interfaces, and other practical outputs from the projects
  •  sharing ideas, experiences and interim outcomes of evaluation
  • swaping time and expertise, e.g. analyse data for one another (extra objectivity
  • sharing resources e.g. external consultants buddy up for e.g. workshops, critical moments (writing up etc)
  • act as a sounding board and be a neutral ear to articulate findings, thougts and any concerns about evaluation outcomes.

It is a support mechanism that can develop into long term relationships for future OER work. Of course it does not preclude the development of other useful relationships across projects.

Each evaluation buddy team will receive support from the Evaluation and Synthesis team through this toolkit and by request. We will meeet twice with each buddy team – to establish the relationship and towards the end of the programme to support end of project evaluation activities, particularly around presenting evidence and outputs and final reporting.

Here are two examples from phase 2 of a successful buddying relationship and the kinds of reflections this can encourage at key stages in the project lifecycle.

Buddy Groups for phase three are:

  • PublishOER, ALTO UK, HalsOER, Great Writers
  • REaCTOR, COER-SET, Opening up a Future in Business
  • Digital Futures in Teacher Education, ORBIT
  • OMAC strand projects (four projects)

Comments from UKOER3 projects

CORE-SET interim report

“In addition, the recent use of ‘evaluation buddies’ is noteworthy. This has enabled CORE-SET to forge collaborative relationships with two other projects from the OER3 programme – ‘REACTOR’ and ‘Opening Up a Future for Business’ – that are also exploring common themes/strands of development. Such commonalities relate to: (a) engaging with non-HE stakeholders; (b) working with students / learners in resource development and evaluation; (c) releasing cognate-related OER content; and (d) choosing specific technical platforms and legal protocols for OER release. This ‘evaluation buddy’ cluster-of-three projects has provided a means of sharing: (i) project methodologies / instruments; (ii) ongoing processes and findings; and (iii) emerging issues / lessons learned. More importantly, the buddy system has enabled evidence relating to the above-mentioned common areas to be ‘pooled’ amongst the three projects, thereby adding critical mass and further credibility to outputs / outcomes.”

DeFT project blog post – buddying up with ORBIT

“On Wednesday, we had a very productive meeting with Teresa Connelly and Bjoern Hassler from ORBIT(“Open Resource Bank for Interactive Teaching”), our “evaluation buddy” – the idea emerged from a joint phone call with Lou McGill where we started talking about synergies between the projects. Once again, the meeting demonstrated the value of a rather revolutionary concept known as actually talking to people face to face and exchanging ideas. The meeting also helped us to see that despite the fact that we cover different discipline areas (the majority of DeFT teachers are in English or media while ORBIT focuses on science subjects) we have much more in common than we initially thought. The commonalities are mostly related to pedagogical approaches as ORBIT team are very keen in identifying examples of what they describe as interactive lesson plans and as we went down the list of DeFT case studies, it turned out that most meet the interactivity criterion.”

ALTO UK interim report

“We have joined with the De Montfort University HALSOER project (led by Viv Rolfe) to become evaluation buddies and our shared interests include staff skills development, search engine optimisation (SEO) and working with commercial publishers. This looks set to be a very mutually beneficial exercise with a recent initial meeting revealing some shared observations and experiences about design tools for supporting staff in OER creation. We shall be following this up with some more discussions especially around the theme of SEO and possible future collaboration”

Back to Evaluation Toolkit: Evaluation resources