Overview

UNESCO’s emphasis on quality education and learning is essential; throughout its report on education, the organization distinguishes education as a human-centered process from education as a product to be consumed. That distinction defines praxis.

praxis is a collaboration between the Posner Center and Regis University’s  Development Practice. This partnership includes two programs: Data, Design, and Evaluation which focuses on Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning; and New Lenses for Storytelling: From Critique to (re)Creation led by Rebel Spirit Collective.

As a highly dynamic field, driven by the urgency of poverty and climate change, the global development

A close-up of a woman in the background. In the foreground, you can see the videorecording screen reflecting the same woman's image being recorded
Video editing and computer training workshops at the SOS Children’s Village in Calbayog City, Philippines in 2011. Credit: Cedar Spring Wolf

sector is continuously learning from its failures.  A big one has been the cost of a too-linear and technocratic approach to problems/goals that are inherently complex and relational; a corollary is an illusion that sacrificing process to efficiency can achieve outcomes with true and lasting impact or even the intended short-term impact.  This is reflected in the fact that UNESCO has moved from its original goal of “education for all”, to education that is “inclusive, equitable, effective and relevant.”

To this end, praxis courses provide critical, multi-layered value: a rich and well-designed learning environment, strengthening of local organizations, and precious professional development of entrepreneurs​ and community leaders in the Global South, including the status and authority that follow from credentialing.

praxis courses are designed to be accessed from anywhere in the world. Students with a variety of professional backgrounds in health, government, gender, and education–to name a few–engage with their instructors and each other via real-time, video-conferenced class meetings and discussions.

Enrollment in the praxis program not only gives you access to world-class instructors and courses to deepen your development practice but also connects you to the Posner Center Community.

While you are enrolled as a praxis student, you will have access to:

  • a free Posner Center Individual membership
  • connections with the 200 organizations in the Posner Center Community
  • participation in the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) Community of Practice, a peer network of MEL practitioners in various fields around the world
  • access to the Posner Center collaborative workspace near downtown Denver
  • access to other Posner Center programming, such as mentoring, coaching, decolonizing development, and other opportunities

The Programs

Data, Design, and Evaluation

Data, Design, and Evaluation is a series of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) skills courses, designed to strengthen the development practice of the Posner Center community and beyond. These courses are not theoretical but instead focus on using your work and your data to strengthen your evaluation practices in real time alongside a cohort of students from all around the world.

Certificate of Evidence-Based Development: Data, Design, and Evaluation

The Posner Center offers the praxis Certificate of Evidence-Based Development, a 5-course certificate designed to build your research and evaluation skills. Completion of 5 courses from the list below, attainable within six months or less, will earn you the certificate. To be considered as having completed a course, you must attend all classes, complete all assignments, and receive a grade of a B or higher.

praxis Fellowship for Data, Design, and Evaluation

The Posner Center offers a competitive fellowship available to the Posner Center Community for the Data, Design, and Evaluation courses. The Fellowship provides a tuition subsidy of 50-100%. Fellowships are available for students pursuing the 5-course praxis certificate as well as for those taking single courses. We’re interested in supporting organizations, working both locally in Colorado and around the world, to improve their M&E practice, so apply if you’re ready to shift how you lead, measure, and report on your work!

We will prioritize applications who:

  • Are organizations applying as a team
  • Include staff who are native to and currently living in non-US countries where your organization works
  • Demonstrate readiness to improve organizational evaluation
  • Express desire to share your learnings with the Posner Center Community

2022 praxis Fellowships have already been awarded. Please sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page or join the Posner Community for updates on the next round of fellowships.

Course Details & Dates
M&E I: Foundations and FrameworksM&E II: Design and Data ManagementQualitative Data CollectionQualitative Data AssessmentData VisualizationProgram Design

M&E I: Foundations and Frameworks

This course will provide students with a working knowledge of the field of M&E and lay the foundation for continued learning and implementation.

Students will learn:

  • Key concepts and associated terms of M&E
  • Frameworks for establishing causal logic
  • Approaches to defining and measuring project deliverables and impacts
  • Development of an outcome mapping model

Course Instructors: Kurt Wilson and Andrea Nelson Trice

Next Course Offered:
Spring: May 9th, 12th, and 16th, 2023 from 7 to 9 am MST

M&E II: Design and Data Management

This course builds on lessons from Monitoring and Evaluation I, going more in-depth on effective theories of change and criteria for developing the appropriate indicators to measure them. Students will learn the technical aspects of quality indicators and the processes involved in their development.

Students will learn:
  • Indicator development
  • Data collection methodologies
  • Development of an M&E plan
  • M&E tools for data visualization, collection, and analysis

Course Instructors: Kurt Wilson and Andrea Nelson Trice

Next Course Offered:
Summer:
May 30th, June 2nd, and June 6th, 2023 from 7 to 9 am MST

Qualitative Data Collection

This course is an introduction to the principles and techniques of qualitative data collection with a particular focus on the researcher as the instrument. Students will be able to customize class projects to their own context by completing either interviews or focus groups. Course content will touch on topics such as positioning yourself as a learner and active listener, asking effective questions, and reading verbal and non-verbal cues. Participants will develop the personal mindset and self-presentation needed to cultivate relevant and nuanced interactions. The goal of this course is to teach the art of qualitative data collection to produce data filled with generative insights.

Students will:

  • Navigate the relational space during the interview or focus group process including managing personal bias, active listening, and how to ask questions that promote open dialogue
  • Manage personal mental space during the interview or focus group process including techniques to decenter the self
  • Develop a reflexive practice through reflexive journaling
  • Conduct an interview or focus group

Course Instructor: Lisanne Brown, PhD

Next Course Offered:
Summer: June 16th and 23rd, 2023 from 7 to 10 am MST

Qualitative Data Assessment

Participants will learn the art of iterative analysis that both addresses the research or evaluation goals and maintains the voice and perspective of participants. Class projects will include analysis of a sample data workbook, without requiring expensive software, and students will receive helpful feedback to inform future projects. Course content will touch on topics such as inductive and deductive analysis, memo writing, triangulating data, and formulating finding statements. The goal of this course is to teach the art of qualitative data assessment to produce useful and rigorous finding statements.

Students will:

  • Understand the iterative nature of qualitative data analysis
  • Identify and develop different types of codes
  • Convert raw qualitative data into useful insights
  • Write an analytic memo
  • Draft a findings statement related to the data coded

Course Instructor: Lisanne Brown, PhD

Next Course Offered:
Summer: July 7th and 14th, 2023 from 7 to 10 am MST

Data Visualization

In an increasingly data-rich world, visualization is more important than ever for communicating trends in global development as well as showing impact, understanding your stakeholders, and adding visuals to grant proposals and sending to donors. Well-designed visualizations can provide important insight, but poor design can be confusing at best and misleading at worst. This course will cover the basics of data visualization, including interpretation and best practices for designing graphs, maps, and other visualization approaches. Students will learn to evaluate the effectiveness of visualization designs, and think critically about each design decision. Students will create their own data visualizations, and learn to use Open Source data visualization tools and data sources. Students will learn to better interpret and improve on visualizations they encounter, and to create clear and informative visualizations for use in development practice.

Students will learn:

  • Understand best practices for the design of data visualizations, including infographics, maps, charts, and graphs.
  • Critique and improve the clarity, precision, and information content of their own visualizations and those developed by others.
  • Use visualizations effectively to improve storytelling for diverse audiences in the development field.
  • Recognize the wide range of resources available for furthering their work on data visualization.
  • Produce a visualization that tells a data story, shows impact, and is intended for a particular audience.

Course Instructor: Lauren Allognon

Next Course Offered:
Summer: July 20th, 24th, 27th, and 31st, 2023 from 7 to 9 am MST

Program Design

Nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations live and thrive by the effectiveness in planning and execution of their mission-directed programs. Ideally, the better the design, implementation, and evaluation, the better the attainment of the mission. This course explores approaches for strategic program design, implementation, and evaluation. We consider research-based best practices and applied program evaluability through needs assessment, data collection, stakeholder participation, and empowerment. Finally, we review the need for a systems approach and the logic model as strategies for program effectiveness.

Students will learn:

  • Processes of needs assessment, data collection, and stakeholder participation and empowerment
  • Systems’ approach and the logic model as strategies for program effectiveness
  • Design a plan for program evaluation via class project

Course Instructor: M.D. Kinoti, PhD

Next Course Offered:
Fall: October 9th and 12th, 2023 from 7 to 9 am MST

Full Tuition and Materials Cost

Course fee: $350

Course Packages:

  • 5 course fee: $1750 $1400
    When registering for 5 courses at once to earn your praxis certificate, get one course free.
  • If two members of your team register, one native of a non-US country on your team may register for free, across all courses.
Click here to register for Data, Design, and Evaluation

For questions or more information, contact Maggie Larson at

New Lenses for Storytelling: From Critique to (re)Creation

A photo of one person speaking while being filmed by another person.
Video editing and computer training workshops at the SOS Children’s Village in Calbayog City, Philippines in 2011. Credit: Cedar Spring Wolf

Crafted, composed, honed, and edited, stories can showcase progress or box in a problem. As the call to decolonize aid and development continues to gain momentum, many organizations are applying a critical lens to how they do their work. We want to refocus that lens on how organizations tell their stories so they may truly live into their decolonizing values. 

Rebel Spirit Collective is creating a web of storytellers with contributions to decolonized development media. In this multi-course series, participants move through cycles of critique and creation. As they flip critical lenses into mirrors, storytellers are able to discover new ways of creating and sharing both the process and product of storytelling. Individuals and teams contribute to decolonization by forming new ways of storytelling that challenge the status quo.

Certificate of Decolonized Storytelling
Two people speaking in the background with a camera videotaping them in the foreground
Women Entrepreneurs in Namibia in 2016. Credit: Cedar Spring Wolf

The Posner Center offers the praxis Certificate of Decolonized Storytelling to participants who complete the first two courses, “Storytelling Practices Through a Decolonized Lens” and “From Critique to (Re)Creation: Pitching & Executing a Decolonized Storytelling Strategy”. To be considered as having completed a course, you must attend all classes, complete all assignments, and receive a grade of a B or higher.

Decolonizing Storytelling Film Festival

To celebrate the stories shared by our participants, we will be organizing a film festival! More details coming soon.

A large theater with about 100 people watching a film
Engineers Without Borders USA Film Festival in Boulder, Colorado, 2014
Course Details & Dates
Storytelling Practices Through a Decolonized LensFrom Critique to (Re)Creation: Pitching & Executing a Decolonized Storytelling Strategy
Video Storytelling Technical Skills6-Month Creative Intensive

Storytelling Practices Through a Decolonized Lens

This course will critically examine current global communication trends, values & biases, then apply them to an individual’s organization.  

Students will learn:

  • How to share stories through a decolonized lens
  • Current media trends and biases 
  • Media inputs & outputs and creation processes
  • Critical analysis of aid & development media
  • Critical analysis of organization’s media through examination of bias, narrative, consent & creation practice

Course Instructors: Carolyn Tarr and Cedar Spring Wolf

Next Course Offered:

Winter: Tuesdays, January 17th, 24th, 31st and February 7th, 2023 from 7 to 9 am MST

Course fee: $200

From Critique to (re)Creation: Pitching and Executing a Decolonized Storytelling Strategy

This course will integrate decolonization values with organizational storytelling strategy.

Students will learn:

  • Participatory planning processes
  • Budget to match storytelling vision
  • Facilitation of new voices from the field
  • Creation of pathways for consent
  • How to choose what not to share
  • Focus on process not product

Course Instructors: Carolyn Tarr and Cedar Spring Wolf

Next Course Offered:

Spring: Tuesdays, March 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th, April 5th, 12th, 2023 from 7 to 9am MST

Course fee: $300

Video Storytelling Technical Skills

Two access points will be provided to upskill team members: an asynchronous online library filled with open source, easy-to-use and highly applicable material, and a short 2-weekend creation  intensive for those that want a quick practical skills course with real-time instruction and feedback. 

Students will learn:

  • The cycle of video storytelling, documentation and editing
  • Hands-on teamwork with gear to complete a mini video project
  • How to showcase video to peers and receive feedback

Course Instructors: Carolyn Tarr and Cedar Spring Wolf

Next Course Offered:

To Be Announced: February 2023, 2-weekends, every 2-months

Course fee: $350

6-Month Creative Intensive

This cohort-based course will support the implementation of a decolonized communication strategy & team upskilling in video storytelling techniques. Teams will complete the entire lifecycle of reflection to ideation to implementation of a grassroots organizational storytelling process.

This course is designed to diversify the stories and storytellers from the grassroots and community development sectors. This is for novice filmmakers and focuses on documentary footage and formats. We highly recommend registering for this course if your organization is ready to change who tells the stories and needs to upskill new teams to do so AND/OR if your organization aspires to create impactful video stories. 

Students will learn:

  • Setting realistic process & product outcomes
  • How to complete a decolonized media project with support from teams around the world
  • Technical skills associated with video storytelling
  • How to reflect and reset established communication practices
  • Participatory and decolonized frameworks and protocols to process
  • Video storytelling project management skills

Course Instructors: Carolyn Tarr and Cedar Spring Wolf

Next Course Offered:

Spring: March TBD, 6-months, 2-hrs every 2-weeks

Course fee: $1200

Click here to register for New Lenses for Storytelling

For questions or more information, contact Lauren Andraski at

FAQs

Is there a certificate for completing this course series?

Yes! There are multiple certificates offered. We offer one for the Data, Design, and Evaluation courses, and multiple for the Video Storytelling Series. Check out the sections above on “Certificates” under each program.

Are any of these courses worth academic credit?

No. 

When do the courses meet?

We are offering courses at different points throughout the year and for different days and times. Please expand the “Course Details & Dates” sections above for more information.

Do I need to complete all courses?

Although we find great value in the full series, all courses are offered individually and can be taken singularly or together. We believe this is the best way to fit the needs and strategic planning for each organization. If you would like to earn a certificate, those have specific class requirements which you can find above in the program sections