Archive for April, 2016


Class 9: Team work

April 21, 2016


For online collaboration to lead to successful outcomes it is useful to have an understanding of how teams function. We considered the under-lying factors that influence groups and teams in real life and discussed how they might apply in the online environment. Then we examined the various roles different members of the team might play over the life-cycle of a project. You can review Sitearm Madonna’s tips and tools for online virtual collaboration and team working.

John reminded everyone of the importance of reading the project brief carefully and also paying particular attention to the assessment criteria. There is no value in working hard on something that is not required – ensure your focus is sharp and your effort is actually contributing to the required outcome. You should re-read both the brief and the assessment criteria regularly throughout the project to ensure you remain on target.

From here on your blog posts will concentrate on the development of your team and the project, referring to the principles and guidelines outlined in the class. Reflect on how these play out in reality as you work together – describe what works well for you and also the difficulties and problems you encounter and how you resolve them. Pay particular attention to  what you are learning, noting how you might do things more efficiently and effectively in any future team work. Ensure you document your contribution to the project.

As there is no formal class next week John advised that you use the time to meet in your groups in SL and get a good start to the project. You all know how difficult it can be to arrange a suitable time to meet outside of class (everyone has lots of commitments) so use this opportunity to kick start your project and settle on a working methodology that suits the members of your team. John will arrange an alternative class time through now the Facebook group.


  1. Meet: in your groups to plan your approach to the project, decide on what aspect of the project you will explore, identify the individual tasks and prepare an outline schedule that will see you ready to present your work on May 12th.
  2. Write the eighth post: to your blog describing this meeting, your contribution and your team plan.

Class 8: Project briefing

April 14, 2016

John gave a detailed briefing on the group project explaining how it should be approached and delivered. The key deliverable is a ten minute presentation but the purpose of the project is to give you a chance to experience working collaboratively online: including the difficulty of arranging to meet; the challenge of holding useful discussion; dividing the workload and so on.

While this aspect of the experience must be presented as part of the final project you are also asked to reflect on the weekly experience in your blog from now on. This will ensure that you receive a fair assessment of your contribution and will not be let down if team mates do not deliver as expected. You will be assessed on your contribution to the project, not simply the overall success of the final presentation.

The presentation in the final class should be delivered vocally (if anyone has problems with their voice in SL let me know) but should have a text backup using notecards. Second Life has a rich set of tools for including images, sound, movies and animation to support your talk. John demonstrated the most simple way of showing images by dragging them from your inventory to a ‘screen’ made from a simple panel. You can practice this in any number of public sandboxes located around SL.


  1. Write the seventh post: to your blog describing how your group might meet online regularly to develop the project. Discuss the different platforms available, their pros and cons for this work; and how comfortable you think you would be with them.
  2. Meet with your team: to begin discussing your response to the project brief.

Class 7: Medium and message

April 7, 2016

We began the class by talking about the feedback John gave on the student blogs. He reminded everyone of the importance of writing all of the required posts so you should check that you have done that now: everyone should have at least six posts written – as described in the ‘things to do before the next class’ section of all class summaries (note that the next assessment point for the blog will be following next week’s class). You might like to read advice on blog writing from Prof Dreamscape to students on this module in 2014.

Following that we had a discussion based on the the reading material provided on Marshall McLuhan and Axel Bruns. Not everyone had read the papers so we took five minutes out to do so before continuing. We looked in particular at the impact of social media apps and how they might be influencing how people interact. This was compared with older communications technology such as the land-line telephone. Using both text and voice a lively discussion ensued with everyone sharing their views.


  1. Ensure your blog is up to date with six posts written and your bio clearly visible (the bio may relate to your avatar – in other words it may be fictional or aspirational).
  2. Read the group project brief 21st Century workplace and be prepared to interrogate it during the next class.
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