Posts Tagged ‘Teamwork’

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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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Class 4: Getting to know teammates

February 28, 2022

This week we all met at Whole Brain Health where Tooyaa summarised last week’s lesson to ensure everyone has been ‘friended’, joined the ISP group, and is up to date on our progress so far.

The Project Teams were announced with the members of each listed along with the themes each team is to address. WBH also provide appropriated coloured t-shirts for each team member.

John introduced the Project Brief and shared a notecard with full details. We reviewed the details briefly so that everyone had a sense of what they will be working on for the remainder of the semester. He asked everyone to read the brief in detail after the class and to meet in their Project Teams during the week to discuss it. Sitearm Madonna reminded us that his talk on Teamwork next week will outline an approach to working together. He will ask some students to share the experience of the first team meeting to help identify issues around working together virtually – so ensure you arrange your team meetings!

Lissena Wisdomseeker then introduced the Project Teams. The team at WBH had kindly prepared sign boards listing all the team members and made more t-shirts. Each team member could take one from the boxes and each shirt was in the team colour with either Çağ or TU Dublin logos on back. Once everyone had put on their new shirts we teleported to the area where students will be working on their projects and presenting them at the end of the semester. Each team has a large working space sufficiently separated so you can talk without disturbing each other. Lissena explained that each team would produce a Share Board today, to get used to working in SL. She shared a notecard with details of how to carry out the task. But, first, each team was asked to select a Team Leader, one from each university. This will make it easier for the WBH team to communicate with you over the next weeks.

It soon became clear that everyone would finish the task during class time so you were asked to complete before next week.

John wearing his ‘Masters of the Metaverse’ T-Shirt, kindly made for him by WBH.
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Teamwork and Collaboration

October 20, 2021

Sitearm Madonna joined the class to make a presentation called Composing for the New Era – Teamwork and Collaboration Online. The version of the talk in the following video is from a later presentation of the same talk to the Nonprofit Commons this year.

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Class 12: Team Project presentations

May 6, 2021

Sitearm Madonna recorded the students’ presentations and also completed the post production work to shape the result, for which we are most grateful.

Thanks are also due to Andrew Sullivan at Montana State University Billings, who provided the Heavy Industry student presentation region for the evening.

Finally, in addition to welcoming our module guest speakers and friends, it was a great pleasure to have members of the Virtual Worlds Education Round Table join us.

Congratulations are due to the students for the excellent quality of their projects, both in terms of content, research and presentation.

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Teamwork brainstorming demonstration

April 29, 2021
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Class 4: Team Project – Tomorrow’s Office

February 25, 2021

Class photo Spring 2021

We finally managed to get almost everyone together for a class photo.

We started class this week by having close look at the module details in Brightspace, particularly the Assessment unit and the Team Project. John guided you through these sections and emphasised the importance of reading carefully the project details, the brief, the assessment criteria and the submission details. There is specific information on the Website Blog and the Team Project with which you should familiarise yourselves to ensure your independent work is accurate and contributes towards your mark and final grade. (These details are not contained in this website as they are relevant only to you.) There is no point in working hard if you are not doing what is required for the assignments, so work smart!

John referred to the assessment for the Team Project and explained the difference between the group mark and the individual mark. Remember that the aim of the project is to give you the opportunity to experience working on a collaborative project in an online environment. Whether the end result, or your presentation, is a success or a failure doesn’t matter. It is your experience and learning that is being assessed. You demonstrate this through your reflective and critical writing in your blogs.

Refer back to the assessment criteria regularly throughout the semester to ensure you don’t wander off course.

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Team Project – Tomorrow’s Office

February 19, 2021

What kind of office do you think you might be working from in the future?

As you prepare to leave college with your degree the prospect of seeking a fulfilling career will become increasingly important. Much is being written now about the changing nature of work. As long ago as 2012 Forbes suggested that Job Hopping is the New Normal for Millennials. opens in new window But, the Guardian newspaper reported that the trade unions in Britain are concerned about the abuses of the gig economy suggesting it results in lower wages. An article in The Guardian, TUC wants clampdown on ‘poverty pay’ in gig economy jobs opens in new window, revealed that almost half of adults aged 25 or over were earning less than the minimum wage.

The World Economic Forum report on The Future of Jobs 2018 opens in new window provides a comprehensive analysis of trends on an industry-specific and country-specific basis. In the section on Strategic Drivers of New Business Models opens in new window it concludes that the unfolding of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is resulting in a variety of new and emerging jobs while the more traditional job roles are declining. But, there is some good news for you as the Economist reported in 2016 that people working in creative fields are less susceptible to automation in Automation and Anxiety. opens in new window

Taking a more holistic perspective raises deeper concerns for the future of not just work, but the entire ecosystem of society. French philosopher Bernard Stiegler suggests that the world is heading rapidly towards a dead end thanks to the consumerist model. Speaking in London opens in new window in 2018 he argued that a radically new approach to shaping our society is required. Rather than allowing capital and technology to dictate we need to bring epistemological, technological, artistic, judicial, social and economic questions together in order to shape the future.

In 1992 the Union of Concerned Scientists issued a Warning to Humanity suggesting that vast human misery would ensue if we did not change how we are impacting the planet. They ‘feared that humanity was pushing Earth’s ecosystems beyond their capacities to support the web of life.’ Last year the warning was updated when 15,000 scientists from around the world published World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice opens in new window.

As if all that was not enough, we are now living through a global pandemic that seems likely to impact all our futures in ways we cannot predict. Working from home has already become a commonplace experience that is unlikely to change even when the pandemic eases. Online activity is becoming increasingly acceptable and people have adapted quickly out of necessity but more thought needs to be given to the principles of working between home and an office. Organisations like McKinsey & Company are already giving advice like that in the article Reimagining the office and work life after COVID-19 opens in new windowfrom June of this year.

This is a real challenge to you, individually and collectively, as you consider your emergence into society from college. For this project you are asked to consider how you might address the problems facing society while earning a living and living your lives. Do you accept the premise of the World Scientists? Can you see ways in which it is possible to work for a more sustainable engagement with our planet? Do you think the current situation might offer society an opportunity to re-think what we do and how we do it?

The Brief

You team is tasked with proposing how the workplace of the future might operate, taking into account the issues raised above, particularly sustainability. Consider issues such as the design of office/studio/workshop spaces, flexible working arrangements, presence, virtual and online engagement, new social norms for the workplace and so on. Clearly, you will need to address specific requirements for different disciplines and professions.

You will work on this project in your groups to make your presentation in an entertaining, informative and lively manner using whatever medium and format you wish as long as it can be stored for later review (e.g. a talk, short film, dramatic presentation, narration+visuals). Each team will present live in Second Life. The presentation should be no shorter than five minutes and no longer than ten minutes. You are encouraged to use visual, audio or any other aids to support the presentation during which each member of the team must take part.

Each participant must also describe the progress of the project in a weekly blog post with particular emphasis on your own contribution to the project. (What are you bringing to the group and how does it fit into the team’s work?) Discuss the details of the project and also the issues that arise in working collaboratively online. How easy is it meet up virtually and plan the project? What difficulties arise in development? How easy or difficult is communication? What particular problems arise and how do you deal with them? Focus on the experience rather than writing a ‘correct’ post or having an answer for every difficulty.

Important note: If you use images or sound be mindful of copyright, particularly as presentations will be posted to the module blog.

Presentations should be no less than 5 minutes and no more than 10 minutes in duration.

Your presentation can be made in the TU Dublin campus or any appropriate venue in Second Life selected by the group. Presentations will be delivered in the last class at the end of the semester.For full details on the Team Project specifications and the assessment criteria see the Assessment Unit.

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Class 3: Teamwork and Collaboration

February 18, 2021

Settling in for Sitearm Madonna’s presentation.

John welcomed Sitearm Madonna to the class introducing him as a graduate of the module and subsequent guest speaker since then. Sitearm, a retired engineer and currently a consultant in online applied collaboration, has vast experience of team working and has developed a theoretical framework to support online teamwork. He has been refining the presentation each semester and delivered this class in voice with a subtitles. There was also space for input from the class and participants with a live demonstration of briefing, brainstorming, and debriefing. You were very cooperative and engaged enthusiastically, making the content far more meaningful while practicing the application of the theory.

To review the basic content of the presentation see the class summary posted posted in February 2020. You can also review Sitearm’s slides and notes which he has generously made available on his website.

Class 3 in discussion

Engaging with Sitearm in demonstrating teamwork in action.

Sitearm accompanied his talk with comprehensive explanatory slides.

John finished the class by thanking Sitearm for a most engaging class. You will be putting the theory into practice immediately as the Team Project will be introduced next week. In advance, please review the brief in Brightspace and have your first team meetings before next week’s class. Here are your assigned teams:

Team assignments for the Team Project – Tomorrow’s Office

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Class 11: Team Project presentations

December 17, 2020

We were delighted to be joined by a select audience for the Team Project presentations this week. Valibrarian Gregg, Gentle Heron, Mook Wheeler and Sitearm Madonna supported us with comments and questions about the topics under discussion.

John was most impressed with both presentations. He remarked on the quality and depth of the research conducted by each team, the professional delivery and the ability of each team member to address the questions that came from the audience in a thoughtful and reflective way, demonstrating the engagement you had with the details of your subject.

The Red Team opted to go first and gave us a link to a YouTube video which we all watched in our browsers. The video was very well scripted with appropriate and insightful content. Team members took turns narrating and performed exceptionally well. The images, diagrams, layout and typography all combined to support the main contention of the presentation which nailed the brief. In the follow up Q&A session you demonstrated a command of the subject and responded with confidence and a convincing level of detail.

The Green Team presented live in SL. The original intention was to show slides on a screen in SL but, wisely, it was deemed more effective to provide a link to a set of Google Slides. Once again, the presentation was delivered in part by each team member, handing over to each other with ease and professionalism. The team dressed professionally for the occasion to complement the content. The design and layout of the slides was excellent, even down to the specially designed Green Team logo with stylised leaf motif. This team also engaged with their Q&A session in a professional and confident manner – this was borne out by the reflective nature of their responses to questions and a clear understanding of the content.

Following the presentations John wrapped up with some general comments and our guest speakers also contributed, complimenting the student teams. The full brief for the Team Project – Fresh World was well researched by both teams. Assessment criteria can be found on page 6.

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Class 3: Teamwork and Collaboration

October 29, 2020

This class is normally given by Sitearm Madonna but, regrettably, John was unable to make the arrangements in time this semester. So, he reviewed the key points in the hope that it might be possible to have the full presentation from Sitearm at a later date, perhaps with some students from other universities teaching in SL.

Poster showing theory of teamwork

Sitearm placed convenient posters around the classroom (check the roof also).

Sitearm had placed some very useful posters around the room which helped illustrate the dynamics of teamwork which, he suggests, is like breathing: more of a process than a one-time event. There are four aspects to understanding how teams function. Firstly, teams have effective members. Each of us brings some commitment and some level of competence. You can compensate for the lack of either in team mates to ensure a positive outcome. Secondly, effective teams develop in stages. Starting with the forming stage where members are getting to know each other and find their place before moving onto what can be the most difficult stage known as storming. This is where everyone is pitching ideas and working out how to proceed. Then teams usually move on the norming stage when the members are beginning to work together comfortably and settle down to performing and getting the project done.

Thirdly, effective teams use best practices. For example, using brainstorming to generate ideas and then agreeing a protocol for deciding how to progress: majority vote, consensus or some other way. You will find that you move back and forth between brainstorming and deciding until the project begins to take shape. When you meet in your teams get into the habit of briefing yourselves. Ask questions like: what are we going to do in this meeting? Then do it. At the end of the meeting leave some time for debriefing: record any decisions made or what happened. Also ask each to member to say what they liked about the meeting and what they wished had happened. This helps your team meetings to become more efficient, effective and enjoyable.

Finally, effective teams share roles: research shows that there are nine key roles for highest performance and success in teamwork. As many teams don’t have nine members it is often necessary for people to take on more than one role. Each of us has a natural affinity to some roles but you can practice taking on new roles also. The disadvantage of this is the discomfort as you move into unfamiliar territory and the extra work involved but the advantage is seen in performance and success on both the personal and team levels.

Collaboration is a technology – proven and time tested with a vast number of academic papers describing the process. Think of it like that and you will find it less daunting.

John reminded the class that it is very important to practice your presentation before the final delivery. You need this dry-run to iron out any difficulties that may arise in moving from a plan or script to the real presentation. Working with technology is not always reliable so it is a good idea to expect catastrophe and have at least one back-up plan, if not two: don’t get caught out! Prepare fully and you will be successful no matter what happens.

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