ources for your Environmental Scan: The Learning Resources list several listservs to which you can subscribe. You will need to conduct an Internet search for assessment and evaluation blogs. Do not assume that all blogs are equal; some are marketing tools by consultants that may not advance your knowledge. If you use websites as resources, be certain they are updated frequently and are not simply static repositories of information.
What to log: The purpose of a scan is to read and reflect on many sources of information. Realistically, however, you will not be able to reflect on all topics. Create your own heuristic technique for a simple tally of all topics that emerge; and in addition to that, select several topics to actually report on. Your report may take the form of synthesis of comments on these topics, or the report may compare and contrast the treatment of those topics on the different listservs and blogs.
Topics can range from statistical tests to requests for proposals to rationales for external evaluators. Use the range of topics to educate yourself on evaluation vocabulary as well as professional-level discourse.
Quality of Work: At the doctoral level, a scan such as this should include your synthesis and interpretation at the professional level. You may want to refer to your bookshelf on research methodology to review standards for content analysis and discourse analysis. (Computer-mediated communication permits discourse between individuals and thus the research methodologies around discourse may be appropriate.) While this Assignment does not require that you identify a method, your written product should reflect research standards of validity, reliability, and fairness.
Your blog should also reflect the evolution of your thinking across the term. Thus, the assignment is constructed for observation and reflection across time. The Environmental Scan is not a snapshot of issues to be compiled at a single point in time. Rather, it will be the gradual accumulation of blog posts that will permit your interpretation of your topic to mature.
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