Monthly Archives: May 2012

Spreadsheets – a waste of time or a means to an end?
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I was one of a number of people in the room who sat up smartly when Ross MacIntyre opened his presentation at the 2012 UKSG conference by saying that spreadsheets are a waste of intellectual ability. Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is crucial, and we need the appropriate information to inform and support our decisions, but this information is a means to an end and it is all too easy to get so involved in collecting and storing the information that we run out of time or energy to do anything with it. Librarians have moved beyond the point where just having the data is enough, we now see this a way to improving our library service. Time and effort needs to be focussed on interpretation and use, not downloading statistics and finding our own methods (usually in Excel) to produce comparable reports.

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Going Home
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A couple of weeks ago I heard an anecdote about a woman leaving Lagos airport. An immigration officer chided her about leaving the country and not staying behind to help. He asked her why she chose to live in London instead of Lagos. She tried to think of all the arguments she could make but the only thing that came to her mind was electricity. So she told him that at least in London she had electricity. When she retold this story she was embarrassed she could not come up with a more compelling reason for living abroad than the electricity situation. A week after I heard this story I too was in Lagos for the first time in lets just say a very long time and I recalled the woman’s comments. Due to my personal interest in development and human capital I went to Lagos with fresh eyes and … Continue reading

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Talking about Moodling
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Moodle is a popular virtual learning environment (VLE) that’s used in many universities in the UK and abroad. Moodle is not only a great VLE but it’s free, open-source software. I’ve been using Moodle for over four years as a teacher and administrator. When the AuthorAID team at INASP was considering e-learning last year, I made a case for using Moodle because it has many features for creating an active learning experience. That decision paid off: the pilot e-learning course that we conducted was successful, with about 90% of the learners completing the course and giving very positive feedback. The 28 learners were early career researchers at the National University of Rwanda, and they took the course over a period of 6 to 8 weeks towards the end of last year.

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Welcome to Practising Development
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Practising Development explores issues, shares learning and presents ideas related to research communication and development. Managed by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), the views and opinions expressed on Practising Development are those of the authors and do not neceesarily represent those of INASP.

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