Abby Johnson Holm is a doctoral student in Applied Social and Health Psychology at Colorado State University. You can learn more about her research here.
Hey OD2A community,
My name is Abby Johnson Holm and I am a doctoral student in Applied Social and Health Psychology at Colorado State University. Today, I’m excited to be sharing a resource I compiled with the help of my Colorado Evaluation Network (COEN) community.
In April (which feels years ago in COVID-time), my colleague, Peter Rumbach, and I co-facilitated a community of practice meeting for our COEN chapter where members could discuss challenges and resources they’ve encountered since moving their evaluation activities online.
Our Colorado evaluators had a lot to say! Some of the top challenges reported were:
- Halting or adjusting delivery of services/program activities
- Halting or adjusting data collection
- Cancelled community/stakeholder meetings
- Planning for the future
- An entirely new pipeline of projects, with some put on hold and others accelerated
- Uncertainty around funding
- Participants and clients in crisis mode (how will results generalize??)
- Privacy concerns
- Navigating unshared challenges (e.g. childcare responsibilities, accessibility to wifi, etc.)
Fortunately, evaluators shared a TON of resources, which we outline in the toolkit provided here.
Streamlining with technology
For example, evaluators provided an array of apps and websites for process mapping in an effort to organize and streamline the process of evaluation in “the new normal.” And while we are unable to meet in conference rooms for meetings or focus groups, participants shared a number of apps and tools for providing collaborative visualization or informed consent in an online setting.
Learning technology in the first place
As you’re probably familiar with by now, clients and coworkers have different skill levels when it comes to technology. Our members provided tips and tools for streamlining and troubleshooting technology use in a group setting (e.g., two minute “zoom orientations” at the start of a meeting). For those who are more technologically savvy, we learned that there exists a wide range of internal communication tools to aid in delegating tasks and setting internal and external deadlines.
Social support resources
Or maybe your teams are organized and re-situated online (and that’s great!), but you notice that clients, coworkers, and supervisors are just feeling “low” these days without the happy hours, lunch meetings, or “water cooler” conversations. The COEN toolkit has resources for community and self-care that can add some sunshine and solidarity back into your “workspace.”
On behalf of the COEN and the COEN program committee, we hope you find these tools useful and applicable to your work while we try to get back in the swing of things as evaluators. In the meantime, stay safe and take care!
Abby Johnson Holm