Welcome to the January Assessment Workgroup Newsletter! In our last newsletter, we shared some tips on how to increase SWENext membership numbers to broaden your outreach impact. In this newsletter, we will share one of our survey collection instruments used during the middle school girls program at the Women in Engineering October conference during the Invent It. Build It. event to collect information about a design and build activity.
Activity Meters for Collecting Quick Feedback on Design and Build Activities
One of the ways you can do detective work on how well your outreach events are perceived is to utilize survey instruments to collect data from participants. For example, at the Invent It. Build It. event at the national Women in Engineering October conferences, we employ a very small survey instrument called an Activity Meter to find out how the middle school girls enjoyed participating in a design and building activity. The example activity meter below is for the Seismic Shake-Up activity available at the DiscoverE web site. In this activity, the participants work as a team to build a shake table and straw building to test their building’s ability to withstand an earthquake.
The activity meter is filled out immediately after the participants finish the activity and collected. The advantage of the activity meter over longer surveys is that the “Overall this activity was…” survey item can be counted to determine how well the activity went and the other survey items to get an indication of the interest level of the participants. For example, at the 2017 Invent It. Build It. event, the Seismic Shake-Up activity was rated as very good or excellent by 93% of the participants, was successful at demonstrating the connection to engineering (96%), allowed the participants to be creative (95%), and was fun (91%).
Knowing that participants are having a good time and learning about engineering is essential to increasing your outreach impact. In addition, you now have data to show the success of the activities in your outreach event and can publish an infographic showing it. Such infographics can serve to attract more participants to your outreach events and can support grant applications to fund your outreach events.
Hopefully, the activity meter will only be the beginning of your detective work to learn about the impact of your outreach events. To help, in a future newsletter, we will look at longer survey instruments to help you collect more data and feedback that will show you where you are doing things well and where areas of improvement exist. When you have real data, any strategies you have for increasing your outreach impact will be effective and targeted so that future outreach events are rewarding and fun for you and the participants who are learning about engineering.
Outreach by the Numbers
The Outreach Committee publishes the SWENextEd monthly e-newsletter as part of our efforts to increase exposure of and participation in SWE’s K-12 Educator membership and related programs. We currently have 259 SWENextEd subscribers. We also publish SWENext monthly e-newsletters that all our K-8 and 9-12 grade SWENext members receive.
There are 3,871 current SWENext student members and 3,504 SWENext adult members. Our grand total is 10,251 SWENext student and adult members since the beginning of the program. We recognize our amazing students through the SWENext Awards. In addition, we currently have 208 SWE K-12 Educator members.
So far this year, members reported 263 outreach events using the Outreach Metric Tool, showing an increase in entries from July to December. This brings our all-time total up to 2872 outreach events reported by SWE members.
Through December 2017, members reached 23,139 girls, bringing the all-time total up to 212,898 girls impacted by SWE members at outreach events.
1,961 SWE members volunteered for outreach events led by SWE members for FY18. Thirty of those events included a Parent Educator Program.
To find out more about the data analyzed by the Assessment Workgroup of the Outreach Committee, please see our monthly Assessment Report and Region/section Report. If you have any questions, please contact Susan Mengel or Darcy Andersen, SWE Outreach Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.