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Class 5: Teamwork and Collaboration

March 7, 2022
Sitearm Madonna spoke about teamwork and collaboration online: working in a new era.

Sitearm Madonna met the class at the landing point in the Çağ University Second Life Campus for his presentation titled Composing for the New Era – Teamwork and Collaboration Online. After ensuring everyone had arrived he led us to the ornamental pool where he had installed a presentation board filled with text and images. He had thoughtfully placed seating around the pool so that everyone had a good view and then seated himself at the top of the board to indicate where we should be focusing our attention. Using his avatar to guide our attention in this manner is a very useful technique that Sitearm has developed in recent years (an interesting example of something that could only really work in a virtual world where you can use the camera to zoom in on the appropriate section of the board).

Last week all the Project Teams were asked to meet in Second Life to complete the task set in the class and discuss the Team Project. After he had introduced some of the basic principles around teamwork, Sitearm asked each team to come to the front and report on their meeting in turn. It didn’t matter whether or not the team had actually managed to meet or not, whether the meeting was considered a success or not, nor whether all the team members were present. The opportunity to give and hear feedback from each team gave us all a sense of how difficult it can be to contact people outside of the virtual world. Teams used email addresses and Instant Messaging (IM) to try and make contact and arrange meetings. Individuals did their best but sometimes received no replies, or were unable to agree to a time that suited everyone. However, some teams were successful and in all cases the conversations have begun and teammates are beginning to get to know each other.

The class in rapt attention as Sitearm reveals the secrets of working collaboratively and productively in teams.

The students engaged fully and shared their experiences, frustrations and successes and it was clear that they did very well for the first attempt. Their enthusiasm for meeting each other and figuring out how to proceed is impressive.

Unfortunately, the TU Dublin campus wifi network would not allow connection to Second Life so only those students who had access via a phone hotspot, or those working off campus, were able to join the class. The IT Support Team are currently reviewing the situation to find out what happened and hope it will be resolved for next week.

John shared a notecard with everyone listing the team leaders from TU Dublin so now each team has a Turkish and an Irish leader to facilitate meetings and progress.

Following the presentation on teamwork Sitearm guided us to an open platform in the sky with an elegant garden populated with blue butterflies. Here he gave a brief introduction to, and explanation of, the metaverse. Not Mr Zukerberg’s Metaverse with a capital M, but the multifarious digital spaces that make up what used to be known as cyberspace (after William Gibson introduced the term in his 1984 novel Neuromancer) but is now more commonly referred to as the metaverse (after Neal Stephenson popularised it in his 1992 novel Snow Crash).

Sitearm concluded with a live demonstration of teamwork. He brought us to a lower platform on which he had placed pianos and drum kits that played when touched. After we had fun making plenty of noise he explained the colour coding and gently led us to a more musical output, leaving us all with an example of a team moving from chaos to harmony.

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