User:Vtaylor/Group projects/Planning Projects

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Planning Projects group Storming: Conflicts in values, perspectives, goals, power, and information are discovered and foregrounded, and progress toward resolution is begun. This is often a creative stage and shouldn't be avoided.


   * How are students going to get the project work done?
   * Do they have project management skills to help them work this out themselves or is instructor / facilitator help needed?
   * Are students going to be frustrated by this process? Can that be avoided? Should it be? 


During the Storming phase, all members have their own ideas as to how the process should look, and personal agendas are rampant. Storming is probably the most difficult stage for the team. They begin to realize the tasks that are ahead are different and more difficult than they imagined. Impatient about the lack of progress, members argue about just what actions the team should take. They try to rely solely on their personal experience, and resist collaborating with most of the other team members.

   * Exploration
   * Organization
   * Work breakdown
   * Division of work 


Work on defining the problem that the group faces. Let everybody have a chance to define the task that faces the group. Remember that the focus here is the identification and definition of the problem, not the solution. First, let everybody have a say on the problem definition, and then begin discussion that will lead to a consensus on the definition. Don't let discussion start until after everybody has had a chance to provide definition.

Next, brainstorm for solutions to the problem. First brainstorn freely, and then give everyone a chance to make suggestions. Then discuss the solutions to the problem in order to reach a consensus.

Finally, break the solution down into its parts. What will have to be done in order to accomplish the goal of the group? Assign tasks and deadlines.


   * Collaborative Learning in Community Colleges
   * Online Activities at Your (Electronic) Fingertips... A How-To Guide for creating the best online activities that really work!
   * Online courses - the 5 W's and 2 perspectives. 


   * So, how did they do? Post a brief summary of the Storming stage. Note any particularly stormy parts and describe how these were resolved. Was instructor intervention required, or could the team members work it out? 


Project definition

What are we supposed to be doing? When is it due?


What are we going to deliver? Who is available to work on the project? What skills to we have within the team?


How can we break the problem down? What work has to be done? Is there research, fact finding that must be done before we begin designing the product? Who will do that? When? Where will this information come from? How will the information be delivered to the team?

Product design

What is our final deliverable going to be? How will it be organized? What all needs to do to create the final product?

Dividing the work

Who is going to take ownership of which pieces? Does everyone have work to contribute? Does each team member agree to the work they are responsible for? How shall we set due dates for pieces that will be brought together for the final product?

Coordinating work

Who is doing what? When will it be done? Whos do I send it to when I am done? Does any of my work depend on the work of others?

Preparing final product

How will the final deliverable be pulled together? Where is the final product going to be?

Review and revision

Who will review the final results? By when?

Quotes from instructors

Students need to develop individual competence, but within a context of effective participation within groups and communities.

   * Each team of 4-5 must decide who will have what part of their assigned topic, then each team member must research his/her part, giving appropriate bibliographical info. Each person posts their part and they do peer evaluation. The final postings are compiled and made available for all students in the course to use in preparation for the essay portion of the final exam. The emphasis is on the teamwork. "Some students feel this is the most valuable part of the course, others do not like it.
     ..Judith Griffin
   * Group work makes it fun for learners, allows them to breath and allow them to recall at their own pace. The last step of group final project is they must present in class and the class must provide their own thoughts, ideas and opinion. Works very well.
     ..Eric Wilson 

Building Communities - Strategies for Collaborative Learning

The article correctly identifies the need for online learning communities as a means of capturing the informal or tacit knowledge that circulates within an organization or group. But then, like most accounts of online learning communities, it describes a fairly structured or formal approach to their creation, so much so that the resulting product would resemble a classroom much more than a community.

Take a look at the "people approaches" described in the article, where clearly defined roles, "including the instructor, subgroups, group leaders or facilitators" are recommended, for example. Or look at the "process approach" where community leaders should create "guidelines for online and offline etiquette and obtain agreement on the behavior that will lead to successful group and individual learning outcomes." Now I ask, does that resemble how tacit knowledge is shared in the workplace or even at school? Not even close.

I think there are two major things to remember, things that dictate a very different approach than is recommended here. First, informal learning is informal, so don't try to structure it with roles and behaviours. Second, informal learning is not separate, but rather, integrated into day-to-day activities. The learning is a part of and a natural outgrowth of other activities. Putting it into a nice formalized box somewhere separate from everything else simply ruins it.

From OLDaily by Stephen Downes, August 20, 2002$132