Collaborate (a little) & metathink

Collaborate (a little)

For this assignment, I met in a Google Hangout with Sarah, D’Arcy, and Linnea. These were the original 10 statements we were asked to discuss/revise:

  1. We should have a high degree of tolerance for group members who are late to synchronous meetings or do not attend due to other obligations.
  2. Creating friendships and completing the group task are equally important.
  3. Criticizing other group members should be avoided.
  4. All group members should have identical goals and reasons for being involved.
  5. Majority rule is the best method of group decision making.
  6. If one group member is not pulling his or her weight, the other group members should confront that person together.

During the Google hangout, we went item-by-item and discussed whether or not we agreed with each statement. These were our final statements, which D’Arcy made into an infographic.

  1. The most important goal for a group in this class would be to complete the stated task(s).
  2. Groups are most productive when a leader steps forward to run meetings and allocate tasks.
  3. Group members should do everything in their power to attend scheduled synchronous meetings on time.
  4. While a good working relationship is important, completing the group task is the most important priority.
  5. Group members should respectfully engage in constructive criticism when appropriate.
  6. Resolving small conflicts in a professional manner will help prevent conflict escalation and group dysfunction.
  7. Whenever possible, group members should attempt to reach a consensus to make a decision. When that’s not possible or time is limited, relying on the leader’s guidance or majority rule is acceptable.
  8. Group members should be held accountable for their contributions to the group.
  9. Depending upon the learning objective, groups should be evaluated as a whole, as individuals, or some combination of the two.

Thinking about the thinking

What did you find most challenging? It was somewhat challenging to find a time that worked with four very different schedules. I am also on the east coast, so meeting at 6pm AK time meant it was 10pm my time. That really wasn’t a problem for me- I just realized I probably don’t do my best work at 10pm!

What questions remain? I am curious to see how these statements are used later on in the class. I would also be curious to hear how/why other students came to different conclusions about the statements (as compared to our group).

Why do you think I required it? I think it was a great opportunity to practice collaboration. I liked having the flexibility to complete it in a small group instead of partners, too, as that changed the dynamic in terms of collaboration and dialogue.

What advice would you give a student if you could travel into the future and give them advice? Plan ahead! Too, I’d recommend using whatever tools you have available / are comfortable with. D’Arcy set up a Doodle poll to coordinate a time to meet, and Sarah set up a Google Hangout link. Using both of these tools helped streamline our coordination and made completing the assignment that much easier.

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1 Comment

  1. It’s a good sign, to me, that the most difficult challenge in this assignment was logistical. And a good sign also that the shared goal made surmounting those challenges relatively easy.

    I won’t be bringing this activity directly back to the class. Last summer I had everyone complete the survey because I was considering how to handle group work and collaboration…something that is necessary (for learning, but also as a part of being an active digital citizenship) but usually something students loathe. This summer I decided that the survey results were less important than the activity itself. My semi-subtle way of noting that we are doing a LOT of group work in this class and it really isn’t all that bad when it isn’t as prescriptive as it often is in the classroom. In fact, last summer I had a student flame out and drop the class because I actually asked what everyone thought about group work first. The very notion that I would have such activities—and call it by that name—set some students off. Lesson for me: I don’t use the word, I just help facilitate it happening as naturally as possible (most of the time 🙂

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