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The aim of this free course, Technology Evaluation, is to provide you with the knowledge you need to develop and work with forms of evaluation that take full account of the contextual, conceptual and theoretical factors that underpin, inform and shape the evaluation and assessment of technology and technology-intensive projects and programmes.
By the end of this free course you should be able to:
- explain your view of the role of technology evaluation and assessment
- distinguish between the different types of evaluation, and state how, why and where they are applicable
- discuss the importance of technology evaluation and assessment in different contexts and at different stage in the development, implementation and use of technology or technology-based projects, programmes and policies
- analyse the theoretical, conceptual and methodological issues and concerns that come into play during the design, application and outcome of the evaluation and assessment of technologies, and technology-based projects, programmes and policies
- apply the principles, procedures and practices discussed in this block to real-life examples of technology assessment and evaluation in a range of contexts.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Why understanding technology evaluation matters
- 3 Unpacking evaluation
- 4 The functions of evaluation
- 4.1 Technology assessment
- 4.1.1 The relationship between the macro, meso and micro
- 4.1.2 A brief history of macro and meso technology assessment
- 4.1.3 Contemporary macro and meso technology assessment
- 4.1.4 National and cultural variations in assessment (and evaluation)
- 4.1.5 The globalisation of cultural images and views of technology
- 4.1.6 Undertaking contemporary technology assessment
- 4.1.7 Micro-level technology assessment
- 4.1.8 Technology assessment: issues and illusions
- 4.2 Technology evaluation
- 4.3 Recognising the complexity of evaluation
- 4.4 Beyond the formative–summative divide
- 4.5 Evaluation and knowledge generation for conceptual use
- 4.6 Summarising the distinction between the forms and purposes of evaluation
- 4.7 The characteristics of ‘effective practical evaluation’
- 5 Defining benefits and costs
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
The aim of this unit is to establish why evaluation and assessment is so important when making choices about, and investment in, technology. It deals with a wide range of theoretical, conceptual, methodological and contextual ideas and issues. It will be argued that these are relevant regardless of whether the focus of attention is a specific technology, the process of designing and building a technology, or a technology-based project, policy or programme.
Following a fairly wide-ranging introduction to the subject, Section 2 of Part 1 discusses why understanding technology evaluation and assessment is so important in today’s world. Section 3 unpacks what we mean by evaluation and how activities such as monitoring and inspection fit within it. Section 4 explores and analyses the functions of evaluation, starting with a detailed examination of technology assessment (which I argue should be treated as a separate, but related, activity), followed by an examination of all the common forms of evaluation. Section 5 examines how costs and benefits are defined, including the question of intangibles, and how our values and beliefs influence how we define what is a benefit and what is a cost.
This unit is from our archive and is an adapted extract from a course which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Technology courses or view the range of currently available OU Technology courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 12th July 2011
Last updated on: Wednesday, 5th September 2012
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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