EPSY474 week 14 & 15 final reflections

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I cannot believe that the semester is over already.  I remember bringing the Preskill text to my son’s football practices, wearing shorts and a t-shirt and sitting in the cool grass under the bright evening sunshine.  And now I sit at my desk, wearing multiple layers of clothes in a drafty house, surrounded by holiday decorations and listening to the furnace humming, with snow on the ground outside the frosted windows.

I also remember the first few weeks of the semester, looking ahead to a final project due at the end of the semester, and wondering how it was going to happen.  And now, here I sit, my final paper completed somehow–along with an accompanying PowerPoint presentation.

I guess I shouldn’t say “somehow”–the paper was completed under the capable guidance of Cheryl and Kona.

As I’ve stated in other reflection blog postings, I think this course was very effective and well-constructed in how it led us through the process of creating an evaluation, step by step.  I readily admit that the final project seemed very daunting at first, but the process made it seem so much more manageable.

As I’ve also said, I started the semester knowing very little about the concept of evaluation, really only having a vague idea as to what it meant in the loosest sense.  And now–while I am by no means an expert–I have a much greater understanding and appreciation for the complex undertaking a formal evaluation really is–if done correctly.

And the concept of Appreciative Inquiry…  While I don’t foresee myself conducting many formal evaluations in the near future, AI has already shaped the way I perceive and approach challenges and problems in my daily life–both at work and elsewhere.  It’s not just a matter of trying to maintain a positive attitude; it’s already proven to be a useful approach to interacting with people and finding solutions to problems–seeing problems more as opportunities for improvement rather than roadblocks.

I fully intend to keep both texts for this class to use as references.  Even if I am not participating in any sort of formal evaluation, I expect both books to be useful tools, still–as the concepts apply, I think, to the countless informal evaluations in which I participate on a regular basis.

Thanks again to everyone for an interesting and engaging class.  And Happy Holidays to everyone.