Tag Archives: statistics

Measuring our impacts – qualitatively AND quantitatively

We have put a great emphasis on being able to quantitatively document the impacts of our programs during our work planning process, and I’m extremely pleased with the progress we have made in applying that rigor to our planning and reporting. At the same time, sometimes the full measure of our program impacts has a very compelling qualitative aspect as well. We can take surveys, compile statistics and write reports, but if all we report is numeric data, we may miss the changes in attitudes or habits that some programs bring about.

 The Michigan 4-H China Project is a global education program that often uses the arts in both in-school and after-school experiences. In the Michigan 4-H Children’s Art Exchange, Michigan children create art that is sent to Chinese children. Chinese children in turn send their artwork to Michigan children.

 But it’s not just about the art. Chinese and American children learn about the similarities between their lives and develop awareness, understanding and appreciation of other cultures.

 Andrea Caron, Michigan State University Extension 4-H program instructor, joined in with the fifth graders when Gina Jacques started the 4-H art exchange in her third, fourth and fifth grade classrooms in the Soo Township Elementary School in Chippewa County. The fifth graders spent the hour talking about the project and art and the feelings and thoughts that the art brought out.

 As Andrea tells it, “In the last moments of class, when we were taking ideas and questions about the program, Anthony, a fifth grader, raised his hand and said: ‘So? Instead of taking anger out on people, they can use art to express themselves?’”

 Andrea goes on to say, “I was so amazed at his observation from the project and art – perhaps it was tied to us discussing what the Chinese children were trying to express to us and our associated feelings about it. I wanted to share, because this is surely the impact we hope to have but can’t always capture.”

 I agree. We can’t always measure the impact our programs have in statistics. Often it’s in the comment of a child or client that we can see proof of success.

 View a selection of Michigan artwork from the 2011 Michigan Children’s Art exchange traveling exhibit: http://expeng.anr.msu.edu/uploads/files/85/china_art_exchange/MI-ChinaArtExchange11-Web.pdf

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What’s new about MSUE? Many are finding out at the MSUE News for Ag site

Michigan State University Extension has been helping people by bringing them the knowledge of MSU for a long time now, and the number of people we are reaching through technology has grown tremendously since we introduced MSU Extension News for Agriculture.

 The online tool helps us get the newest information and research from MSUE to farmers and stakeholders. And they get that information in one convenient, online location. Through the website, faculty and staff members can share their expertise with anyone in the state. They are not limited by county or regional borders.

 The numbers are up, and they don’t lie. In just three months, we have had nearly 40,000 visits to MSUE News for Ag and more than 120,000 page views.

 Our readership increases monthly. From Apr. 26 to May 26, we had more than 25,000 visits, and more than 70,000 pages viewed. We average 834 visitors per day, and the average visitor views 2.8 pages per visit and spends about 2.21 minutes on the site.

  • Visits are split almost equally between first-time visitors (48 percent) and return visitors (52 percent).
  • Weekends are slower than weekdays, but with an average total of 1,131 visitors for Saturday and Sunday (combined) over the last three weekends, weekend traffic is significant – and seems to be growing.
  • In general, Thursday and Friday have the most page views – usually more than 1,000 per day. We’re not sure why this spike occurs, because we are posting new material daily.

Thirty-two percent of our visitors are referred to us from another site. Twenty-one percent are driven to our site via various search engines. This is particularly good news because that means we are ranking higher in search engine results.

 The statistics show that this online tool is proving to be a positive form of communicating knowledge to Michigan residents. Find it at news.msue.msu.edu.

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