Saturday, 18 May 2013

Reflective Thinking

Activity 10 Block 3 H817 OU UK

My contribution to the group effort of articulating the context

Although we all have our roles within this team, we've decided to let the edges blur. We're aware of each others working context and family lives and have decided to remain flexible and adaptable throughout in order to remain on schedule. I would rather maintain a smooth continuous workflow than have a project that has constant pace changes. So in relation to my contributions to the group effort, I, like all the team members, have worked step by step through each task, posted ideas, discussed openly during our synchronous meets, added notes and suggestions to various documents and helped to finalize all of the documents. Working through this process together has meant that we've been able to articulate a context that is appropriate for the purposes of our project.

Challenges and revelations

As I teach English via Skype, I'm used to working with small groups of people synchronously and asynchronously, so it was important for me from the word go to find an efficient means of communicating and methods that enable a smooth workflow. The team are all cooperative and have agreed that once weeks 14 / 15 are completed we can reflect on our methods of communication; analyze our workflow and make changes where necessary to ensure that we're working as effectively and efficiently as possible. 

To date we are:

- using Twitter regularly. The whole team is included in practically every tweet
- using the H817 forum for longer messages. The team are informed via Twitter to check the forum
- making use of the workbench space. We've created extra documents as rough workings and link them to this space for ease of access and for extra discussions. It gives a clear overview of what is being worked on and everything has a sense of being housed in the one building.
- we've created a Logbook in Google Drive. Whenever an activity has been completed each member checks in and updates the Logbook. So with one click, an overview of completed and pending activities is provided
- we've been using Elluminate for synchronous groups meets. We use Skype when working on collaborative documents, especially when we feel that the chat box won't suffice. This works perfectly as we can bounce between documents and share screen at will.
- progress reports are posted on the forum every couple of days to keep the team informed and to work as a reminder of what's been done and what's still pending.

So keeping the group working as one, despite busy working lives, has been challenging. However, due to good cooperation and motivation we've been able to reach all of the deadlines that we've set ourselves. I think we've all done our fair share of late night and early mornings in order to complete individual tasks so the collaborative work can move on. It's been reinforced for me again that working online from various parts of the globe takes coordination and mustn't be underestimated and that trusting other members to contribute and look after themselves is also part of the process. 

For the first two weeks, no revelations have revealed themselves that I wasn't expecting in the first place. However, I am pleased that the team is flexible and adaptable; motivated and cooperative; ready to take the initiative; supportive and good communicators. Without these elements weeks 14 / 15 may have been quite different.

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