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Are You Interested In A Virtual Book Club?

If you’ve been browsing the aea365 posts lately you’ve probably seen Evaluation Book Clubs and Staying Current which touch on the benefits of book and article clubs, including:

*Staying current on what’s going on in the field of evaluation

*Professional development

*Motivation for finishing a reading goal

Why would you be interested in a book club???!!!&*%$

Do you read tons of information on fresh topics in evaluation, but don’t really let it sink in or think about applying it to your practice?

Sounds exhausting

At your job are you the lone wolf when it comes to program evaluation, member of a small pack?

Sounds a little lonely 

Do you meet with colleagues to have thought provoking dialogue about your perspectives on evaluation?

Is this more social, for learning and growth, or both?

Are you affiliated with a local consortium of evaluators in your area/region?

Is there a forum for small or large group discussion?

Are you a member of a professional organization that supports and encourages the growth and development of program evaluators?

How often do you get to interact with other members?

I think book clubs are a simple, yet powerful forum….

Who: Evaluators and other interested parties

What: Engaging in dialogue about theories, methods, books, journal articles, data visualizations, and blog posts

When: Biweekly or monthly chats

Where: Phone conference, #twitchats (Twitter Chats), Skype for discussion pairs

Why: Professional development, to flex your thinking and evaluation muscles, to promote dialogue on evaluation topics, and to encourage community building and knowledge sharing

A few brainstormed topics I’d be interested in:

  • Developmental Evaluation
  • Evaluative Thinking
  • Culture in Evaluation
  • International Evaluation

Well, are you INterested in a virtual book club? 🙂

Have you had any experiences with one?

Feel free to list a few creative ideas for logistics and topics of interest that you wouldn’t mind engaging in discussion with like minded(or not so like minded) individuals.

After a little data collection, I may give this a pilot run, if you’re INterested just let me know!

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12 thoughts on “Are You Interested In A Virtual Book Club?

  1. Hi Karen,

    I’d love to join your book club! I can’t commit to phone calls or twitter chats right now, but it might be cool if we’re both reading the same book and we both blog about our reactions as we read it? Kind of like a message board or discussion thread, but using blog technology?

    My team at Innovation Network meets weekly to discuss articles about evaluation, foundations, nonprofits, etc. Our meetings work well because the articles are short (5-10 pages) and they’re always available online for free. I wonder if we could find something short and free for this book club as well?

    Looking forward to this,
    Ann

    • Ann,

      I like short, and I LOVE free!

      The reading materials would make for great blog material on the highlights, reflections, pros, cons, etc.

      We could also generate a list of discussion questions as prompts in a post, and send out the link for people to fill in and to keep the online discussion going. Less pressure to feel like you have to be at a certain place at a designated time…

      Great idea and thanks for adding in your perspective!

      -Karen

  2. Karen, this idea has potential. I agree with Ann that time is the limiting factor. Real Simple does an online, no obligation book club virtually through their book club blog. Might be a useable format. The critical mass of evaluators at OSU would meet quarterly to talk about evaluation issues. I found that if I didn’t call the meeting, it didn’t happen, though people came if I planned it. Seems like most people have their own agendas for professional development…sigh.

    • Thanks for the tip, I will look into Real Simple…the title is encouraging in itself!

      No obligation, I like that, and with the blogging format people can easily be updated in how to “join” and be a part of the discussion based on their interest in the topic, less pressure.

  3. HI Karen,

    Awesome idea. I’d be interested. As with everything time might be hard but I’m willing to try. I like Ann’s idea about blogging (or even tweeting) our thoughts/reactions as we read the same book.

  4. Absolutely!

    With that said, I am part of a group that initially started as a Developmental Evaluation Learning Group, whose purpose was to read Michael Quinn Patton’s DE text and discuss it via teleconference every month. We’ve done this and the group wanted to explore this book club/evaluation tools learning more so the group has morphed into this Innovators for Social Change group. This newer group is web-based with events, resources, and blogs .. I have been having trouble logging in myself, but there is a learning session tomorrow that I’m hoping to attend to help clarify things. If you are interested, I can what it takes to add people to the list?

  5. an additional thought, Karen…long reads limit conversation. I’ve got a “new” book on loan from the library for 14 DAYS…not nearly long enough to read 300 pages. I’m not sure I can get through 300 pages on non-fiction in 4 weeks…just keep posting and I’ll follow you.

    • Good point Molly. I will be looking for short, online pieces initially. I do not want this to feel like a chore at all, it should be a fun and interesting with no obligation 🙂

      Thanks so much for following!

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