The aim of this course 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 OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 3 study in Technology.