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Frequently Asked Questions

This page provides answers to the following FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

How much time does it take to be a Shaping Outcomes instructor?
Instructors should expect to spend an estimated total of 40 hours teaching Shaping Outcomes to a class of fifteen people. An instructor's technical knowledge, teaching experience, and the size of the class may shorten or lengthen the time they can expect to spend on the course.

Before the course, an instructor should expect to spend about 4-6 hours of prep time. During this time, an instructor will need to: review the course modules, and become familiar with the logic model evaluation rubric. We estimate that instructors spend a total of 2 hours per participant providing individual feedback and commenting on logic model drafts. We also estimate an additional 1 hour a week to provide general feedback and technical support for the entire group.

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How long does the course last?
Shaping Outcomes is designed to be flexible - it can be offered at whatever pace the instructor desires from an intensive 5 modules in two days to five modules over two months. In our testing, we have found the course to be most effective for working professionals when paced at about a module per week with an extra week at the end to finish the logic modules. When Shaping Outcomes has been taught to museum studies or library students as a unit within another academic class, it has been taught in as little as 7-10 days (in a condensed summer session) and for as long as 4 weeks in a regular 15 week academic semester.

Not only is the time frame flexible, but the course can be customized by an instructor with special assignments, discussion forums, or other learning experiences posted on the course management software.

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Who can benefit from using the course?
Anyone who wants to learn about Outcomes-Based Evaluation in library and museum services—including practitioners and students as well as other interested parties. Participants learn this skill and then can implement it.

Some may want to implement OBPE at their institution:

  • In planning, grant-writing and as standard operating procedure. Learning the vocabulary (for example, by skimming the instructional material) doesn’t automatically translate into practice. The course is “instructor-mediated” so that users learn by applying the lessons to realistic problems, getting feedback from the instructor and revising. 
  • A good choice is to participate in teams. Since OBPE affects implementation throughout a program, best practice calls for several people from the same institution can take the course at the same time, preferably when starting a real program. (The course fee is applied to each person who communicates with the instructor. A team "back home" can work through the course with the course participant.)

This course is not suitable for those looking for an in-depth introduction to research methods and evaluation. (However, the Resources refer users to suitable sources for that information.)

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How does the course work?
The course consists of:

  • a website with online instructional material,
  • assignments made and responded to by an instructor

Course participants interact with the instructional material and communicate with the instructor.

The instructional material:

  • Is web-delivered in five modules: Overview, Plan, Build, Evaluate, Report. 
  • Contains supplementary material, accessible from each screen, including Orientation (how to use the software), Resources (Bibliography, Acknowledgments, Credits), Glossary (words in the course materials), Model (a graphic representation of a logic model for a program) and Cases (samples of real or fictionalized cases).
  • Includes one track for Library participants, another for Museum participants, with suitable examples and exercises
  • Provides Coach segments for those needing more guidance and Dig Deeper segments for those wanting more information.  On selected screens.
  • Self-Assessment:  Each module contains a Check Your Understanding screen where users can try out their understanding with a suitable simulation (Information Commons at Whitney Library or MAPS exhibit at the Children’s Museum).
  • Project work: on each module, participants will apply the concepts to their own projects.
  • Instructor feedback: For each module the instructor chooses appropriate Apply Your Understanding activities.  The software comes provided with a simulated activity and work on a real-life project for the modules.

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