A short blog post this week. Our collaborative team project has just been submitted, so now is a good time to recap some of the lessons learned.
- Online teamwork in a non-professional setting, especially one without existing team hierarchies, makes for a confusing start. The general advice for online teams is that they should preferable meet in-person at the outset of a project. It certainly would have helped everybody to feel each other out in terms of team roles more effectively than the semi-paralysing effect of online communication. While our team was lucky to rotate between natural leaders throughout the process it would have been better to appoint an overall leader as oftentimes decision making felt slightly nebulous and involved waiting for a certain percentage of the team responded before continuing.
- Social networking technology moves fast and it is necessary to keep involved with it if even just to be aware of its possible implications on e-learning courses. This may mean being an embarrassing age to go create an Instagram account, but will help me to better understand current social networking trends, and avoid the initial apprehension and confusion I experienced with using Facebook.
- Don’t mix business and pleasure with your work tools! While Facebook was a convenient place to begin team communication I would have much preferred to use a self-contained solution that didn’t involve using a personal account with all of the trappings that come with it. Google Drive was a useful space to share files and collaborate on project documentation such as house styles and sample designs at the outset, but it quickly became more efficient to share files in progress in the same space as our communication tools. I was surprised that Facebook facilitated sharing pdfs, but it ensured that all members could discuss content and upload revisions quite easily.
- Design is a lot of fun! While I don’t have a graphic design background or any significant skills to speak of, using InDesign to typeset our instructional document didn’t feel like work even though it took plenty of iteration and likely a lot more time than some other members had to spend. Continuing my professional development with certified Adobe suite training seems a logical step once my MA studies are complete, especially considering the fun I have also had with Adobe Premiere.
Overall this was a really useful experience. Even though I work with many external suppliers and team members in my professional life starting a project from scratch without defined tools or team processes in place was a reminder of how important communicative and technical infrastructure are in practice!