h1

Class 3: Team working

October 25, 2017
Sitearm Madonna on team working

Guest speaker Sitearm Madonna talks about team work through poetry!

This week we were rejoined by the second year group of students on the BA in Visual Art and their course leader Joseph Jacotot (aka Glenn Loughran). This group took the module last semester and enjoyed it so much they wanted to return! They were made welcome by the current group and we had one of the highest numbers of students ever to gather for a class in SL.

Guest speaker Sitearm Madonna (a veteran on this module) spoke about team working, both in Real Life (RL) and in online and virtual environments. His slide deck Team Operations Tips can be reviewed again and, indeed, it is recommended due to the richness of the content. There was only time to touch on it in class. Site speaks from a lifetime of experience working on various teams – some of which he didn’t wish to be a member, others where he was happy to participate and many of which he led. For me the take away point was about the need for constant confirmation that every member of the team is on the same page. Never assume that people agree when it comes to understanding either the project on which the team is working or the decisions that emerge from meetings. This is evident in team work in RL but it is exacerbated in the online environment where our usual human communication cues are missing. Glenn touched on a point that many of you discussed in your blog posts: the importance of voice in online communication. In RL much of our understanding is based on body language, often unconsciously interpreted, which lets us know when individuals in a group reach understanding, consensus and agreement. In the online environment all of this has to be transmitted through voice and text. Therefore, regular reflection as a group is necessary to prevent difficulties.

The issue of leadership in groups and how to encourage it was addressed and Sitearm emphasised the importance of understanding all the roles necessary for group development and progress. He reminded us that members need to flexible when it comes to stepping in and out of the roles as needed. So, the burden and responsibility of leadership actually falls on each member of the group and should be exercised when needed. Here also, the importance of ensuring that the whole groups is aware of the roles they are inhabiting at any time is critical. Negotiation around roles will help this process.

Sitearm provided entertainment during the question and answer session as he changed avatars from The Saint to Sitearm Madonna the elegant lady to a butterfly to artwork and, finally, burning man.

John referred to the #MeToo group project brief asking you all to read both the brief and the assessment criteria very carefully. By now the class was running a little over time so there were no questions directly on the project. We can discuss it in more detail next week. Referring to the first task to be undertaken before the next class John talked about the range of online tools that are available, many free of charge, to support teams and make up for the lack of fact-to-face (F2F) engagement. They cover all aspects team work from communications (Facebook, WhatsApp, We Chat etc), to project management (Trello, Padlet, Google sheets etc), collaborative note taking and writing (PBwiki, Google documents etc).  You should review some of them and there may be others you are familiar with or have used before. Share you experiences with the group.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE NEXT CLASS:

  1. Decide: among your group what tools you will use for planning your project (how you will stay in touch and share information, etc.).
  2. Write the third post: on your blog explaining your choice of communication tools and reflect on how the group arrived at the decision.
  3. Read: Living Structures in Second Life Virtual Worlds Projects by Sitearm Madonna. [accessed 27 October 2017].
  4. Read: Painfully Coming to Grips with The Medium is the Message an amusing and accessible introduction to the philosophy of Marshall McLuhan. [accessed 27 October 2017].
  5. Supplementary reading: Extrapolating on McLuhan: How Media Environments of the Given, the Represented, and the Induced Shape and Reshape Our Sensorium provides a deeper analysis of McLuhan. [accessed 27 October 2017].

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: