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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Time constraints of funded projects
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Many project managers agree that the duration of funded projects often acts as a constraint for dissemination of results. Do you agree with this statement?
When do you usually carry out the dissemination activities in the life of your project (from the beginning of the project, at the end, mainly when it is over)? Why?
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RE: Time constraints of funded projects
19/09/12 16:05 as a reply to Marisa Hernandez.
From my experience, the dissemination activities are usually implemented on an ongoing basis as soon as some material are available to communicate about the project (website, flyer..). However, there are many projects for which the time is limited to properly disseminate the results develop at the very end of the project. The problem then is that excellent tools that sometimes required significant investments are not as widely used as they should be.

Some very good tools and resources available on websites of finished projects are not disseminated anymore as the funding has stopped. One solution is to create portal centralising all these project results like the scientix portal (www.scientix.eu)
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RE: Time constraints of funded projects
19/09/12 16:21 as a reply to Marisa Hernandez.
It depends of the project of course, but I think normally there is little to disseminate in the first half of the project, and the results start to be interesting for teachers during the second half. Trying to do dissemination before you risk to lose peoples attention as the "product" or relevant result of the project is still under development. The public is interested in something they can already use, apply or fully understand.
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RE: Time constraints of funded projects
19/09/12 17:41 as a reply to Patricia Muñoz King.
Patricia Muñoz King:
It depends of the project of course, but I think normally there is little to disseminate in the first half of the project, and the results start to be interesting for teachers during the second half. Trying to do dissemination before you risk to lose peoples attention as the "product" or relevant result of the project is still under development. The public is interested in something they can already use, apply or fully understand.


Although I agree with you, this also makes me think of the purposes of dissemination. When we disseminate project results, we want to raise awareness, understanding and sense of usefulness among stakeholders. In this sense, I consider that some stakeholders (maybe a reduced group) should be involved in both development and dissemination of results to facilitate raising common understanding and sense of usefulness. In my opinion, that would mean involving some stakeholders during almost the whole project. However, in the first phases of the project these stakeholders might have a role more related to development of results and, in a later phase, they might engage in dissemination activities. What do you think?
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RE: Time constraints of funded projects
19/09/12 20:09 as a reply to Marisa Hernandez.
What you are suggesting, Marisa, is very similar to the Steering Groups I refered to in a previous post (and thread). In my experience that is a "low intensity" dissemination that actually has the power to establish stronger relationships with stakeholders, enhancing the chances of influencing future decisions through research. When teachers are concerned, I agree with Patrcia that it usually menas waiting until later on. In fact, it usually means waiting until after the project....
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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?