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Class 7: Communication?

March 15, 2015

Class this week proved to be a lesson in communication – or lack of it! Summer time began in the US the previous Sunday but doesn’t begin in Ireland until the end the month resulting in a three week period where the usual time difference between us is increased. We knew about this but, the difficulties associated with adjusting schedules and communicating across continents defeated us this semester. For DIT the 9.30 pm finish time is quite late and moving it on to 10.30 pm is not possible. For Akron students the class takes place in the afternoon and most students have other classes directly after it so changing their schedule is not feasible. In addition, it is reading week for a number of DIT students and they were not expecting class this week. In the end, about six students attended a rather small class gathering – demonstrating in a practical way how difficult online collaboration and communication can be across time zones.

We used the opportunity to discuss project progress with those in attendance and, unsurprisingly, similar difficulties were revealed by the students in relation to their communication within groups. One particular issue that may be a cause of concern to some is the selection of the cause or charity for the project. John and Locks advised students not to become overly concerned about this, reminding that the project is a vehicle for participants to experience working collaboratively online and discover not only what works well but also what doesn’t. It is the process of working together that students are expected to explore and the detail of the project itself is of lesser importance. Group members might also do well to review Sitearm Madonna’s talk, in the second class, about the roles of group members

This conversation continued as the student blogs were discussed. The importance of reflecting critically on the process of working with colleagues in an online environment across different time zones was emphasised. Please read what was posted to the blog around this time last year which outlines what students need to consider in their own blog writing.

ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT CLASS:

  • Lecture: watch ‘From Prosumer to Produser: Understanding User-Led Content Creation‘ by Prof Axel Bruns (Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland Institute of Technology) explains his theory of user-led collaborative content creation.
  • Write the seventh post: to your blog describing the process in which your group engage to select the subject for your project. Include a critical review of how successful (or otherwise) you think the process was and what you would change if you were approaching this task again.

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