Serial experimentation for the management and evaluation of communications systems

by William A. Lucas, Suzanne S. Quick

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Discusses the usefulness of a research design consisting of a series of short experiments that mutate through successive generations and describes its use in the Spartanburg, S. C., interactive cable TV education program. Controversy about the role of evaluation in a demonstration of new communication systems can develop between project personnel and evaluators, particularly when the intervention appears ineffective. Using a series of short experiments in which the manager is committed to holding each discrete experimental intervention constant enhances rigorous evaluation, and provides the manager with a valuable planning tool. In a series of experiments in Spartanburg, classroom observation data are shown to have provided a better understanding of the teaching dynamics in a two-way cable education program, and provided a means of improving the instruction.

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