Virtual Team Assignment: Reflecting on Communication

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Source: Pixa Bay

All quiet on the virtual team assignment front this week. The document went off to the French students on Monday. We have checked in with them, but they haven’t reported any difficulties so far. They’ve been involved since the beginning, so I’m confident they will reach out if they have any issues, and will produce a good translation (not that I would know… my French begins and ends at pain au chocolat).

Having the break from the rush of the assignment has given me time to think about our various approaches and how we organised (or didn’t organise) our transfer of information.

Email

Pros:

  • Easiest way to make introductions right off the bat

Our experience:

  • Some members of the group didn’t use their university email as their main email so I had some doubts over which emails I should be contacting.
  • Not getting a reply to an email is beyond frustrating and confusing. Did they get the email? Do we have the wrong email address? Did we not receive their reply for some reason? Very little correspondence was carried out through email.

Sulis

Pros:

  • Available for the lecturers to view at any point
  • Everything gets posted in chronological order.
  • Has analytics to show how much students are engaging with the site.

Our experience:

  • We only used Sulis for posting our updates to keep track of them ourselves.
  • If this was an assignment with only UL students, this would have been the obvious choice. Personally I feel that since we had so much trouble communicating with the other students as it was, Sulis may have caused even more trouble.

Facebook Group

Pros:

  • Works well on mobiles so great for communication on-the-move.
  • Shows whether members of the group have viewed posts, so easy to tell who is up to date.
  • Can be used as a platform for uploading files, photos and videos.
  • Can be kept completely hidden online.

Our experience:

  • It took a long time to get everyone on board, and I had to send out the link a few times
  • Turns out, Facebook seems to order posts by popularity as opposed to date, so it got awkward trying to find certain posts after a while.
  • We ran into issues towards the end when trying to upload new versions of the Word document, which led to minor confusion when trying to get the final document

As you can see, we never really managed to establish a concrete method of communication. Looking at my list, in an ideal world, the group would introduce themselves via email and then move over to Sulis for discussion, and document sharing. We don’t, however, operate in an ideal world. This assignment has been an experiment in virtual collaboration, and I’ve come to appreciate the need for minimal methods of communication.

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