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Evaluation Section

Page history last edited by Jared 4 years, 4 months ago



This section applies your criteria to the proposed solutions or findings and foregrounds evaluative statements


For most of this section you need to write objectively, referencing evidence as much as possible as you make your evaluations.  Thus, evaluation will be exactly that. This is not the place to make your final recommendation. You set criteria, and your only task in this section is to measure how well the solution works with those criteria.  


But there is room to be exploratory in your 'measurement' or judgments, as you can some important "discussion" here about some of the more implied evaluations.  For instance, a high-level evaluation, might think strategically about the relationship between your criteria and the analytical techniques presented in the Research Methods to note some further work, strength or weakness of the evaluation itself.  Or, somewhat more commonly, you might make evaluations that are not backed by findings -- these are more implicit but really deserve some discussion. For instance, an analysis of control systems might be referenced when applying an “ease of implementation” criterion (implementation will be easier if the proposed solution integrates easily with the current control system), but much of your positive evaluation is implied based on preliminary conversations among students, rather than hard evidence -- and this is VALUABLE for your readers here.   


The most common way to subdivide the Evaluation is into subsections arranged around either:


  1. evaluative statements and subsequent proof + discussion 
  2. criteria or proposed solutions (the first example below uses the latter as an organizing principle).



Example 1:




Solution 1: Autocad Course Included in the Curriculum of the Department of Landscape Architecture as a Graduation Requirement


Changes in the curriculum generally require faculty review, therefore this solution would be difficult to implement quickly. If Autocad instruction were incorporated into an existing course, such as Larch 336, it would have to take the place of instruction in other programs that are currently offered. Autocad use could also be integrated into the implementation studios, Larch 435 and 437. Unfortunately, existing computer facilities would be insufficient for the number of students enrolled in the department. It would benefit students to receive Autocad instruction within their studio courses but it might create an unmanageable workload for some students. Students with no interest in Autocad would still be required to learn the program. An additional course specifically devoted to Autocad would allow more in depth instruction but it might be difficult for students to find room in their course schedules. Many students cannot schedule elective courses until fourth or fifth year and it would be ideal for them to learn Autocad earlier in their educational career. It is also uncertain if faculty would be willing to teach Autocad. Even if willing and qualified to teach Autocad, professors may be unable to teach another course in addition to their course load. The department is in the process of seeking new faculty so an instructor with Autocad proficiency could be hired without unexpected extra cost, however, existing landscape architecture computer labs do not support Autocad and creating the necessary PC labs would be expensive.


Solution 2: Autocad Offered as an Elective Credit Course Within the Department


This solution has some of the same problems as solution one: the time needed for faculty review of course curriculum delaying implementation, the difficulty of finding an instructor for the course within the department, and the expense of refitting existing computer labs. This solution is most beneficial to students who do not wish to take Autocad as they would not be required to do so. Students who take the course would still receive credit but it would be in addition to their required courses and would count only for elective credit.


Solution 3: Autocad Offered as an Elective Credit Course in Cooperation with another Department at Penn State


Students in Landscape Architecture can currently schedule Architectural Engineering 444 but space is limited and the course fills quickly. Horticulture 220 is very difficult for landscape architecture majors to schedule as students within the Department of Horticulture have first priority and generally fill all of the slots. It would be easier to add a section to an existing course than to create a new course but additional sections would place too much demand on the faculty that teach each course. It is unlikely that either {name deleted}, or {name deleted} would be willing to offer another section of AE 444 or Hort 220 due to the extra work it would entail. This solution would not be very costly as computer labs that are used in existing sections could most likely be used for additional sections. Problems might develop with the availability of Autocad computers if projects are due at the same time in all sections of a class.


Solution 4: Autocad Courses Offered as Non-Credit Courses/Workshops for Students in the Department


Perhaps the solution that could be implemented in the shortest amount of time is the creation of a non-credit workshop or series of workshops to provide Autocad instructions to students in the Department of Landscape Architecture. Workshops could be coordinated around project deadlines to avoid overloading students. A small fee would reimburse the instructor for their time and allow the department to bring in professionals from outside of the department to teach the workshops if necessary. Required faculty involvement would be minimal, and students who did not wish to receive instruction in Autocad would not be compelled to do so. The biggest drawback of this solution, besides the cost, is that class size would be limited by the computing facilities available. Large class size could reduce the individual fees paid by students but would also reduce the amount of individual instruction each student would receive.


Solution 5: Non-Credit Autocad Courses/Workshops Offered for Students in Landscape Architecture as Well as Other Majors


This solution has most of the same advantages and disadvantages as non-credit workshops offered only to students in the department. The difference is that by opening workshops up to students in other majors, enrollment would increase and the money from course fees would increase. Greatly expanded enrollment might result in overcrowding of computing facilities, limit the amount of material covered in the workshop, or reduce the amount of time that the instructor can work with individual students. This solution would be most effective if enrollment within the department is insufficient to reimburse the course instructor. Based on the results of the email survey of students within the department, low enrollment is unlikely to be a problem.


Solution 6: Autocad Instruction Provided Through a Self-Guided Tutorial CD Produced by the Department and Made Available to the Students


According to department head {name deleted}, the production of a tutorial CD in Autocad will depend on the availability of graduate students to create the CD ({name deleted}, Interview). Although this solution would be very easy to implement at minimal cost and would place very little demand on faculty, it is impossible to develop a CD that could take the place of a qualified instructor. Students seeking answers to specific questions, especially in the advanced functions of Autocad, may be unable to answer their questions without consulting a professor. A tutorial CD would be best for students who are seeking a basic knowledge of Autocad and are skilled at independently learning new software.


Solution 7: Do Not Teach Autocad and Focus on More Advanced Three-Dimensional Modeling Programs


Although Autocad is widely used in the profession of Landscape Architecture, students with knowledge of more advanced three-dimensional modeling programs may be just as successful at obtaining employment. Portfolio work showing digital design projects that surpass the capabilities of Autocad software might make students more attractive to employers than students who are only proficient in Autocad. This proposal would be the easiest to implement. It would not require faculty review and if necessary, an instructor with Autocad experience could be brought in from outside the department for a minimal cost to the students. If a faculty member of the Landscape Architecture Department taught the course, he or she would be reimbursed for their time. Since workshops would meet in existing computer labs with AutoCAD capability additional costs would be minimal. Although an instruction fee might prevent some students from taking the course, the workshops would allow greater flexibility than a course offered for the entire semester.


Example 2:






Evaluation 1: Update Secretary Responsibilities

Updating the responsibilities of the secretary will aid in centralizing, standardizing and unifying the communication flow process. Furthermore, requiring all committee heads to provide information to the secretary indirectly puts into place a formal control system. Having a formal control system will ultimately help the SG minimize the communication problems. By making the secretary responsible for providing information to both the Services Chair (student government site) and the Media Director (IST2U), no longer will there be unsynchronized information provided on different sources. The solution can be implemented after examining the criteria set because:


  • The chance and ease of implementation will be easy because updating the responsibilities of the secretary will not be hard and the scope of the solution is within the SG’s power.



Evaluation 2: Other communication methods

This solution is ideal because it would demonstrate to less involved IST students to become involved in SG activities. By putting in place this informal control system, the communication flow between the SG members and the IST student community will be lessened.


Below are diagrams of how the communication flow will occur:


Evaluation 3: Vice President Assumes the Role of Advisor for the Services Committee

This solution will address issues on multiple fronts. Firstly, with this new role assumption by the Vice President, that position would be better justified for its existence. Although the position is already used as a kind of “backup” to the President, it does not fill many other roles, so adding “Services Committee Advisor” to the Vice President’s list of responsibilities would increase the amount of accountability the position entails. In addition, since a non-member of the IST SG (as defined earlier) technically chairs the Services Committee, this solution would serve to check the powers of the Services Committee by adding a layer of hierarchy that is explicitly IST SG oriented. Through this layer, the IST SG will wield greater authority in what is placed on to the IST SG’s website. Finally, this solution would serve to decrease the amount of responsibility the President must assume, leaving him/her freer to focus more heavily on the needs of the IST SG outside of the website. The only changes that would be made to the structural chart would be an added line of reporting from the Services Committee to the Vice President and a removed line of reporting from the Services Committee to the President. Based on our criteria, this solution:


  • Has a high chance of implementation because it is an effective change that assumes no negative consequences.
  • Is relatively simple to implement since the Vice President merely becomes the advisor for the Services Committee, relieving the President of this responsibility.
  • Serves to indirectly benefit individuals associated with the IST SG since responsibilities are shifted from an area of high concentration of them to an area of relatively lower concentration of them.
  • Only indirectly improves the problem of reaching out to non-members.
  • Falls nicely within the scope of our problem, since it will directly improve the communication issues within the IST SG.



Evaluation 4: The Increase of Presidential Feedback Sessions

This solution will be implemented in order to give the IST SG President a chance to learn what is and what is not working in his relationship with the IST SG. As discussed in the IST SG Life Cycle Analysis (Appendix B), with the current Crisis of Control being faced, the IST SG is at a critical point where feedback on executive activity will go a long way in developing a solid future for the IST SG. It will be very crucial that the IST SG Executive Board provides as much relevant and accurate feedback as possible, in order to help the President assess his performance and determine what steps he must take in order to wield more efficient control over the workings of his organization.



The survey will consist of questions that will be composed by the IST SG, and administered to the IST SG Executive Board. These questions should include, but will not be limited to, the following topics:


  • Question about the President’s relationship with the Executive Board
  • Question about the President’s relationship with the general IST SG Assembly
  • Question about the President’s relationship with general IST student body
  • Question about the approval level of Presidential activities up to this point



Based on our criteria, this solution:

  • Has a high chance of implementation; in conducting the executive interviews (Appendix C), it was determined that most executives were in favor of increased feedback for the President. - Is simple to implement; the Secretary only has to develop this quick survey based on our guidelines and administer it to the IST Executive Board in a span of about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Serves to only directly benefit the President and his activities in the short run; however, in the end it may serve to benefit everyone as the result of an increased effectiveness in the President’s leadership abilities.
  • Only vaguely addresses the problems of reaching out to non-members; although this survey will have a question concerning the President’s relationship with the general IST student body, it will not be the sort of questions that will give the President a complete picture of how successful he is at reaching out to non-members. Its true purpose is just to provide a snapshot of how well the IST SG President has developed a relationship with students outside of the IST SG.
  • Only indirectly sits within the scope of our project, since Presidential leadership does not directly effect how well communication flows.



Evaluation 5: Structured Transitional Documentation

The assurance of formatted and structured transitional documents will greatly improve the communication flow within IST SG. With each passing of fiscal leaders, information is gradually lost with each new leader. Making it mandatory to have transitional documentation that relay all the information gathered from the previous year (and past documents) will increase communication between incoming and outgoing members, while facilitating discussion and communication between the new members themselves. The information being passed along quickly permits the incoming executive board members to understand the current situation and past events, allowing them to tackle issues much sooner, and with greater poise.



Referring to our evaluative criteria:

  • Ease of implementation is high because it benefits the organization at no real cost.
  • Chance of implementation is high because this formal control system is needed to regulate the current crisis of control/communication.
  • The benefit to students within IST SG also keeps the scope of the organization in mind, creating a control system that regulates the data passed to future generations increasing awareness within IST SG of past events.
  • The benefit to students is a latent effect of IST SG becoming more organized and having better detail of events/reports.



Evaluation 6: Executive Board Agendas and List of Action Items

The revamping of meeting formats to reflect more discipline and organization will utilize formal control systems while creating a more end-product oriented organization. These itemized lists will make it very easy for the Secretary to organize information and clearly lay out new records for distribution and reference. Any person can complete this simple task in a matter of minutes before the executive board meetings.



In terms of how this solution reflects on our pre-selected evaluative criteria:


  • This solution stays within the scope of the IST SG, creating a more efficient flow of information - improving overall communication within the organization.
  • The ease of implementation is high, because there is only a small (maybe one page) deliverable to the executive board meetings. In an environment such as a student government, the leaders in these positions should have no problems creating documentation outlining their current activities.
  • The benefit falls on both IST SG members and non-members - the information is being relayed directly from the sources that spawn the events to all IST students.
  • Because of the great benefit to all IST SG executive board members, general members, and IST students, this increases the chance of implementation (high).



Evaluation 7: Formalization of Financial Process

The formalization of the process by which committees secure financial support from corporate sponsors allows for a formal control system to be placed within IST SG that tracks funding for all IST SG related/recognized organizations. The only predicted scenario where a proposal will not be accepted is if a company has already donated to any IST SG affiliated committee, and/or the organization itself within the past fiscal year.


  • Considering the stakeholder analysis, control systems analysis, process models, and culture analysis we can only infer that there needs to be some formalized system for requesting funding. In the past, many events have causes issues for IST SG executive board members when one committee would ask for funding from a company that had been asked by another IST SG related organization recently. Given this poor communication between committees and clubs under the supervision of IST SG, a formal control system needs to be put in place to regulate this flow of information and more importantly, money.


  • Considering the evaluative criteria for this solution we find that this solution as a high chance and ease of implementation. The organization was embarrassed in previous years because of this mistake and should not continue to make the same mistakes. This is a simple formal control requiring written requests. It also has a high benefit to IST SG members and non-members. If major companies stop funding IST related organizations then events that affect both members and non-members might cease to exist at all.


  • It also remains within the scope of the project, increasing communication and overall awareness of the organization’s entities across IST SG.


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