505 Reflection #6

Collaboration is the key to good evaluation!

Being able to successfully evaluate frequently means that ideas must be exchanged to arrive at some form of consensus which can then be further processed.  One of the many benefits of the rapid advent of technology, both personal computing and web tools, is that now it is not only possible, but extremely convenient for individuals to collaborate.  Using online media like Google Docs, individuals from across the country or around the world can exchange ideas and work in tandem with no more than a few clicks of the mouse and an Internet connection.  It goes without saying that this ability to quickly discuss concerns and exchange ideas results in a dramatic boon to productivity as opposed to a more delayed exchange of communication by way of email or forum posting.

Just this evening I was able to see the benefits of moving evaluation into the cloud.  After more than a week of very slow and labored progress on a project, four of our six person group were able to come together and discuss our current work, pose constructive suggestions on how to modify the evaluation, achieve consensus and modify the target document as a group.  All the while conversing together, marking the document and exploring various project alternatives.  In the course of 90 minutes we were able to accomplish more than we had in the 7 days prior.  Not only was the time productive, but as the work was done together (as opposed to individually ) the likelihood that time would later have to be spent undoing individual components that the group may disagree with.

The wealth of collaborative tools that are available to evaluators today is nothing short of incredible.  The fact that so many are open and available at no charge makes it incredible simple and easy to effectively come together to address objectives regardless of the geographical location of the participants.  This kind of technology is a major boon to evaluation and will only continue to improve as new tools become available.

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