Presenting Data Effectively is a relatively short compact volume on visual research presentation. I expected a book that talked about charts and graphs, however this is more about report presentation. This is still a useful topic that opened me up to thinking about font and color choices in my reports. It was more of an introductory book leaving the reader with just enough information to be dangerous and not enough to be effective.
I appreciate the information she presented on font choices and item placement. I was writing a report while reading this book and I went back to format it to make it more visually appealing. Then I scheduled a meeting with our communications team when I realized I did not yet have the tools to be successful.
It was very frustrating that Evergreen told the reader to look at chart and visualization placement and then published a book that continually had charts and graphics on different pages then when they were referenced in text. I found myself continually flipping through pages. In addition, in the last chapter Evergreen used the word "schizophrenic" as a descriptive for two texts that do not match. Schizophrenia is a word that was created specifically for a mental health diagnosis. To use it in that manner is as offensive as misusing any other categorical identification in a flippant manner. It left a really bad impression and turned me off from reading any other books by Evergreen even though I believe her later works may be more effective then her first book.
I picked up By the Book from the bookstore, one of the rare books that I bought not only in paper, but also for full price. It was a gift to myself for a rare child free afternoon. It was an amazing gift.
I fell instantly in love with the book. The main character is an English professor who loves books. She loves them so much she went against her family's wishes and became an academic. Her life if flowdering. She has to get a book published in order to gain tenure at a Southern California university where she has been teaching for the last three years. I work at a large university in Southern California, so I saw a lot of humor in the setting of the novel. I could relate to needing to stop for In N Out fries, and I laughed out loud at the email telling faculty that they could not be in the room for faculty evaluations. I am one of few, I am sure, who found the humor in this as I do course assessment.
I love this book. The characters are very real. They are being thrown by the events of everyday life. The comparison between live at twenty and live at thirty is both sad and humorous. The writing is brilliant. They say that those who can't teach - but thankfully Sonneborn can do both. Well in all fairness I have no idea how well she teaches, but I am sure does quite well at that also. I have no doubt that By the Book is a book that I will pick up many more times.
Assessing Academic Programs in Higher Education focuses on implementing assessment within academic programs. Allen includes a lot of useful information within this small volume. It focuses on educational outcomes and learning outcomes, as well as aligning curriculum with learning outcomes. This is the role of assessment. Allen breaks down ways of implementing assessment, engaging faculty in the assessment process, as well as assessment techniques. The book contains a very detailed introductory guide to direct and indirect assessment techniques. It focuses on rubrics and focus groups specifically.
This is a great volume of a variety of academic assessment. At times it is very basic and could have gone into a bit more depth. However, overall it is extremely informative without being centralized to just one aspect of academic assessment. The book is written more towards faculty but is a good resource for anyone who is interested in learning more about academic assessment. It is also a great book to have on hand when you want a refresher on one aspect of assessment.
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