My reflections on a presentation of an evaluation project - DVD resources in Nursing

It was great to catch up with Bonnie Schroyen and Suzy Poppe from the Nursing Department at NorthTec again and I was very appreciative that they agreed to give a presentation to the 2008 class in the class I am teaching/facilitating, Evaluation of eLearning for best practice. It was especially valuabel because they were alumni from the course. The presentation only can be accessed by clicking: Evaluating the effectiveness of a DVD in the flexible mode of delivery in nursing and I have loaded the presentation with synced audio on to a web-based facility called MyPlick. The full web-conference session can be found by clicking here.

So what happened?I introduced Bonnie and Suzy to the class, eight of whom attended the session on Elluminate, and then encouraged the class to introduce themselves to the presenters. Half the class had microphones so the rest were asked to introduce themselves on the chat facility. However this was probably unnecessary as I had also initiated introductions on the Whiteboard, and most people had written their name and area of work there for everyone to see. I felt this worked quite well and next time, I will do the same with the Whiteboard introductions and only introduce the presenters using voice.

The class will get their chance to ask questions after the presentation, or during it if the presenters prefer this, and I will need to ensure that everyone gets a chance to speak. Anyone who asked a question on chat, was either responded to by the presenters or I asked the question on their behalf.

Bonnie and Suzy had a short PowerPoint presentation describing the evaluation project which was easy to follow. They explained how they used a mixed methods approach (survey and online discussion) in a formative evaluation to investigate a new DVD resource which had been designed to enhance an "online nursing module in the Bachelor of Nursing (BN)".

They investigated the "student’s feelings and opinions about the design and ease of use of this resource", so they could make recommendations about improvements which could be made to the design. My understanding is that the DVD provided students with guest speaker presentations. This was trialled as a way to reduce costs and travel for guest speakers.

The sample size for their evaluation was quite good with 20 respondents. They used likert scales in the survey and collected quantitative data which was analysed using a tool in the Moodle Learning Management system. It would have been good to see some of the graphs they produced - I may be able to obtain them from the presenters. Qualitative data was collected from the discussion forum, and the comments were very positive. Overall, the presenters found that the students believed the DVD was effective.

Bonnie and Suzy had not found the task of conducting the evaluation project an onerous one, and enjoyed doing it. That was great to hear, and they thought it only took them around 20 hours. Participants in the course have an allocation of 50 hours for the project, and providing they do not make their project too big, they should be able to remain within the time frame.

I did not ask them what their "big picture" questions were, but this might have made the main thrust of the project more understandable. Some graphics on the slides would have been good but the design was clear and simple and their explanations good so pics might have deflected our focus. Some graphs of the results would have been good.

Discussion timeFollowing the presentation we had some very good discussion about the usefulness of DVD resources in a flexible course, ongoing use and currency of the resource and modifications. For example, the nursing course is now primarily online and short video clips are being used rather than the longer versions previously presented on DVD. People were interested in the idea of version control being added to the DVD, which would save having to collect them all in at the end of the course. This was necessary to prevent people using outdated material which might contain techniques which were no longer safe. I am having trouble uploading the discussion to the web and will add this later.

I missed Suzy's statement about the examples of video clips so did not get them to show an example of what they are doing now. That was a pity - perhaps a link to one or two would still be useful, so people can see they type of resource they are using and the quality.

My feeling was that the session's focus was on the resource rather than the aspects of the evaluation project itself, but I believe it was still useful in getting across the message about how important it is to evaluate eLearning resources. I will be interested now to read about others' thoughts about the session, and will run a poll to find out how useful, the class have found the presentation in helping them get going on their own evaluation projects.

There has been one positive comment about the presentation so far and someone is actually excited about the next one. At least it is pleasing one person, and it was great to see eight people there on the night. Right on!