Virtual team assignment: rallying the troops

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We’re nearing the end of week 3 and things are moving along, albeit slowly.

As of this evening (Thursday 9th), we have had contact with 2 of the 4 American students. Unfortunately it’s been hard to get input even from the students who have made contact, so Toni and I have had to power ahead with help from the French students, Didier and Nicolas. They have both been far more involved at this stage than I would have expected, so that’s a positive! 

We have done our best to reach out to all team members. While we are going ahead with making decisions, we are keeping everyone updated via email. We are also documenting everything on Facebook, and have posted on Sulis to cover all our communication bases. It would be great to have everything confined to one communication method, but it’s not feasible right now as we don’t have all the team together in one place. Hopefully by the weekend we can work through Facebook alone!

Toni and I have sort of naturally navigated towards a joint leadership role within the team, as we take turns passing on information to the others. We have chosen Google Slides as our topic and have tentatively assigned roles to everyone on the team as follows:

Toni – Instructions  for creating and editing slides
Nicola – Instructions for importing slides, and sharing slides with others 
Jerel – Sourcing of screenshots/graphics
Robert – Instructions for commenting on slides, and downloading slides as a PowerPoint 
Candace – Editing/ensuring consistency across instructions
Caroline – Proofreading 

I have created a Google Doc, which we can all contribute to and edit. Google Docs has limited design options though, so the document will need to be fixed up in Microsoft Word later on. I’m enjoying the process of writing the instructions (guess I’m in the right MA, hey?), and looking forward to seeing our finished product! 

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Transitioning to blended learning

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It’s funny, when I was first thinking of applying to this MA programme (around this time last year, actually!), I was set on staying at home in West Cork and working completely online. This was entirely for practical reasons. By the time the course rolled around though, I managed to secure part-time work in Limerick which allowed me to move back and study on campus.

Having attended nearly all of my classes on campus last semester, I was really comfortable with that setting. I enjoyed being there for the lectures, and it was great to really feel a part of such a close-knit, intelligent, optimistic (usually!) group of people.  That camaraderie can be so helpful when the stressful part of the semester hits. So when the timetable came out this semester and I realised I would only be able to attend 1 out of 4 modules on-campus, I really had to adjust my ideas about how I interact with the course.

The good:

  • The flexibility of this course means I can easily continue working, which I’m really grateful for
  • I was never very good for getting involved in the online discussions and would feel a little intimidated by the idea, but this semester I’m pushing myself to jump right in
  • I listened to a podcast the other day on the couch with a mug of tea and some biscuits, what’s not to like?

and the strange:

  • I always feel like I’m catching up, even though I’m generally looking at the resources as soon as they’re up
  • It would be nice to have someone to immediately turn to when I’m working with the new software applications
  • In Weeks 1 & 2  I felt very Not Involved. However, I took a step back, got myself organised and I’m feeling more of a balance moving into the third week

It’s an adjustment, but one that I think can only be for the best. Last semester I had to adjust from undergraduate to postgraduate studies, and this semester I’m learning what it really means to be in charge of my own studies. It’ll be grand!