The following are excerpts and downloadables from my assessment project (OSU web page usability: An assessment of the OSU primary homepages) for my Asssessment class. The project scope and title changed a few times, but I learned a great deal about online surveys, multicultural competence, and data analysis.
I am including my final thoughts and reflections.
From my initial proposal for the assessment project for my Assessment class, OSU web page cultural usability: An assessment of the experience of the first-year Native American student web user
Strengths and limitations
There are several strengths to this assessment. The major benefit is focus. The scale is manageable. The caveat to a scale of this size is the potential for limited data. I plan on creating an easy to use questionnaire that should help expedite my return rate. The salience of the topic could make this assessment extremely pertinent to Native American students at OSU. The students who participate have the opportunity to make a lot of change happen. This could be thought of as a pilot which could be used to assess web pages at multiple levels within multiple populations
There are significant limitations to this assessment. The first issue is a general lack of knowledge of the population by the assessor. I will do my best to provide culturally appropriate questions but I feel very limited in this regard. This issue, in my opinion, provides for the potential for a negative experience for the student respondents. We were given the mandate of creating a culturally impactful project without the foundational aspects of cultural education.
The second issue to this assessment is the fact that it exists in the context of a homework assignment. How many individuals will utilize the data they have gathered to affect meaningful change? I personally will guarantee that my findings will be used to further a dialogue on the cultural usability of OSU web pages.
Reflection regarding the assessment process
Throughout this process, I was concerned with the overall well-being of my participants. I made every effort to not marginalize or tokenize anyone who was involved with this process. My relationship with the Native American Longhouse and representatives from the Indian Education Office were strained due to an early miscommunication. I would work to build a strong bridge before I tried to cross a river.
I’m not sure if I succeeded entirely, but I do know that I have made connections which will continue to flourish long after this assessment project is a distant memory of my spring term.
I still have a lot to learn about assessment. I usually learn best when I’m “getting my hands dirty.” My lack of statistical wizardry has really reared its ugly head for this project. I may need a research methods course if I am show continued growth in this area. I would increase my overall analysis and I’d especially include cross-tabulation.
Questionpro.com is probably the nicest online survey tool that I was able to test. It allowed me the freedom to modify html, generate PDF’s, and upload custom images. I would highly recommend it for anyone who has to conduct an online survey. I merely touched the surface of its functionality. I did branch one question. If respondents said that they had not used any of the five pages then they were directed to a Thank You for participating page.
This process challenged me but in the end I feel enriched and I cannot wait until my next assessment project.