Project managers Project managers

The discussion is closed now. However, if you think something should have been said during the ODE,  you are welcome to add it to one the discussion threads.


Welcome to the first DESIRE Online Discussion Event for project managers. The discussion is open from 17 to 19 September 2012 and is moderated by Marisa Hernandez from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.

The themes to be discussed during the events:

Day 1
The first day will focus on the various communication channels project managers usually use to find out about results from science education projects.

Day 2
On the second day, participants will discuss their experience in communication and disseminating results of their projects.

Day 3
The third day will aim at identifying best practices in disseminating STEM project results to target audiences.

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Meet the expert - Marisa Hernández Meet the expert - Marisa Hernández

Marisa HernandezMarisa Hernandez is a research assistant and member of the Executive Board of the Centre for Research in Science and Mathematics Education (CRECIM) of the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona, Spain. She  has a BA in Physics and PhD in Science Education.

With a staff of 9 full-time employees, 5 part-time secondary school teachers, and 3 PhD students, CRECIM manages a number of national projects and local initiatives on science and technology education. They cover a broad range of topics, from digital classrooms in science lessons (ADIGIC) and technology enhanced science learning for children in hospital (TEACH); to school-university (REVIR) and school-industry (Prat de la Riba) collaboration.

On the European scene, CRECIM has been actively involved in the management of several EU-funded projects: STISS, IKUITSE, Materials Science, TRACES and ECB/inGenious.


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Criteria for evaluating a dissemination strategy
Which criteria do you usually use to define the success of a dissemination strategy? How do you evaluate the impact of the dissemination actions?
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RE: Criteria for evaluating a dissemination strategy
18/09/12 18:31 as a reply to Marisa Hernandez.
I think it is important to define what is evaluated when assessing dissemination activities: number of people that are aware of the projects? number of people that actually use the results in their practices or paticipate?

Number of visits on a project website is a very common criteria used to evaluate the results of a dissemination strategy but it is not always representative of the use of your results by teachers.

It is often difficult to get information from all the teachers that are involved in a project. From my experience, it happens very often that teachers have been using your resources for a long time without telling the project manager. It seems normal that the primary goal of teachers is to access the resources and use it and not necessarly to inform the manager of the project.

It would be good to give incentive to teachers to communciate with project managers when they use the methods, resrouces and tools produced by science education projects.
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RE: Criteria for evaluating a dissemination strategy
18/09/12 19:58 as a reply to Maite Debry.
Regarding this issue of definitions, we tend to distinguish between dissemination and exploitation of results although the exploitation of results should be a consequence of a well elaborated dissemination plan. However, it is my impression that the exploitation of results depends on the practitioners (at least) as much as on the disseminators. That is to say that the exploitation of results depends much more on personal interests, school culture, institutions' organization, etc. Therefore, I think that, as project managers, we can be more decision-makers regarding dissemination and do we should take into account the characteristics as well as constraints of potential stakeholders.

In my opinion, criteria to evaluate a dissemination strategy should not only rely on numbers of people involved but also on other indicators that give an idea of whether a certain dissemination strategy has been carefully planned and justified during the lifetime of the project, taking into account the difficulties or needs that may arise during the dissemination process.
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RE: What to disseminate?
19/09/12 17:15
I also consider that we should choose carefully the channel and the format to disseminate our project results to different stakeholders.

I recall now attending a conference about knowledge transfer, where there was a policy-maker from the European Commission. She told the audience, mainly constituted by researchers and project managers, that one common mistake concerning dissemination of results is to send them (policy-makers) large reports and mainly at the end of the project instead of policy briefings or similar documents which have been revised and agreed with policy-makers during the lifetime of the project.

Regarding teachers, I agree with Maite that teachers are interested in knowing ways to effectively implement in class the products (e.g. educational materials) resulting from a project. However, if the resulting products have been pilot tested in class and there exist research results about how the products work in real settings and how to use them quite efficiently, then I wonder what it is a good format to disseminate these products to other teachers. You need to include specific materials that have been developed within the project accompanied by recommendations on how to use them, possible difficulties that teachers may encounter, the aims of these materials, etc. Are there formats that work well for you to communicate your results to teachers?
RE: What to disseminate?
19/09/12 16:03
When communicating your project to teachers, I believe it is important to explain concretely the contributions he/she can give and how the tools/resources/method can practically be impemented in class for example (incl. time needed, target age group, ...)

An important information to provide is also the link that can be done with the curriculum.
RE: What to disseminate?