Artefact 7

Mid Year reflection

Task 2.5  End of semester reflection

My ‘critical incident’ was working with a group and balancing my input so that I contributed assertively without taking over the direction of the group.  I found this challenging because in both my personal and professional life the norm is that I make decisions ‘on the go’ so I can move on and get things done.

In Task 2.3 the group started contributing ideas to a wiki.  I had never used a wiki before; my experience with contributing to online communication had so far been limited to use of Google Docs with some colleagues at work and with my Year 3/4 students.  Despite its obvious benefits for collaboration and sharing, I found wiki rather boring and uninspiring as a collaborative tool, due to its bare minimum presentation capabilities.

This lead to the second ‘leap’ that I took with the group, which was suggesting use of weebly to showcase our work instead of wiki.  I considered this as a challenge as I had not used weebly in a year and was not really confident in its use.  However, I thought that this would be an opportunity to further explore technologies for effective learning (LO3), which I did.  Despite the time factor involved in setting up the site for our group, which occurred concurrently as report writing at my fulltime workplace, and completing an assignment for another paper, the learning acquired through the experience was well worth it.

My experience with setting up a weebly was overall positive.  It offers a ‘web page’ feel, is free, and allows multiple users to contribute as long as they are set up as editors to the site.  Furthermore, as a group, we could set up multiple pages, so everyone could add their contribution, with some taking on the unassigned role of editing and doing a quality check before submission of the completed task.

A difficulty that the group encountered while working on this task was that some members of our group were not active when the work was being negotiated and completed.  Having previously been in situations when I could not be active online due to family situations, I felt that it was important to make direct contact with the inactive group members and establish connections.  The upshot of this initiative was, I believe, that I contributed to the group gelling together, as evidenced in our Meeting Deadlines discussion forum.  A second outcome which I had never forseen myself as doing was that I had to collate and condense some decisions for the group when these needed doing in order for the group to move forward.  The value of this leadership learning from this task was priceless.

This overall experience, combined with the positive feedback that Group A received for our work in Task 2.3, helped me to overcome inhibitions of working with a group.  It was encouraging to see that after I suggested an idea for a design project, a group member from Task 2.3, as well as other colleagues that I had already established good relationships with, put their names up as interested in the project, and eventually formed a collaborative group.    Working through Task 2.3 additionally taught me the importance of having assigned roles when working in a group, to ensure that the finished product is coherent and ideas included all connect to the learning intentions for the task.