Evaluation as a means of measure

Because I’ve asked my students to evaluate the websites they are using for their passion projects, I am doing the same, even though, like them, I’m running a bit behind. Good thing I don’t deduct points for being late.

My project, as you know if you are reading my posts, is to try to write a novel first draft during November with participation and guidance of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. And they have a kick-butt website.

In fact the site is the machination of the whole endeavor. It is there that we register; it is there that we post a synopsis of our WIP (work in progress) and it is there that we post and update our word count. It’s also there that we can join forums, find people like ourselves, writing pieces similar to or vastly different from our own. Big projects are usually easier if you feel you have others in it with you. That’s what makes NaNo work so well, I think.

The site is run as a non-profit with a staff and a board of directors. The staff is 15-people big, including an Executive Director, Operations Officer and someone in charge of every aspect of NaNoWriMo. Reading their bios was fascinating – after all, they are writers, and they made it interesting.

The yearly project includes guest “coaches” – real writers who post affirming and motivating words. They also include a serious helping of how-to.

With all these professionals, I find the site quite professional, itself.

Turning the evaluation criteria on my own site, I feel mine is mostly professional, but there are things I could do if I wanted to up the ante.

I post about teaching and advising publications. But I also throw in a post about personal events occasionally. If I were to streamline my content to a more specific topic, it would be more professional.

As far as being an expert on the topic, I am a teacher and adviser, so I believe I am credible and taken as credible, since I’m posting about real experiences and I often link to anything I reference. In fact, I was asked recently by a friend in yearbook circles to make suggestions for an issue being encountered by someone else advising yearbook. I directed that person to my blog. Today I received thanks and compliments for what I’ve done with it. I’m glad it can be helpful to someone.

I love to read blogs, I love to write blog posts, I love to get others interested in blogging. And I may take a few blogs at face value, that is, until I run up against something that doesn’t seem quite right. To have an established format for evaluating sites is helpful in determining what you should and should not use if you, yourself, want to be taken seriously.

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About teachjournalism
I am a high school teacher of journalism, technology and reading. I advise the school's newspaper and yearbook, both student-led publications. Documenting and sharing my experiences is a way of reflecting to improve my own work and and inviting commentary so that we might all benefit. I believe, as I tell my students each year, that we all learn from each other.

2 Responses to Evaluation as a means of measure

  1. C.S. Wilde says:

    Interesting post. I won Nano last year but couldn’t participate this year…PS: I’m running a two story challenge over at my blog. Feel free to join the fun!

    • Thanks for reading. Though it may not be the definition of a NaNo win, I’ll consider myself as having “won” if I get further than I did last year on the story. I revamped a few things and started over. If I can get 10-15,000 words and feel like I’m having fun and WANT to finish the story, I will have won. And thanks for the invite to your contest. I’ll see what I can come up with.

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