Saturday, May 5, 2007

Final Group Project

Well, I've finally finished the Group Project. I was really hoping the end process would be more interactive rather than me deciding for everyone but I'm happy with the end product. I hope the rest of my group is as well. Elva was great about reading the drafts and providing some feedback.

I tried to pull everyone's pieces together but it was challenging at times. When you give different people different assignments where they are allowed to make things up and be creative, you don't always get a cohesive story. For example, some of the group members would say he's been a teacher for seven years, and then others would say he's been a teacher for eight. These types of inconsistencies made it difficult to put together into one story.

I really wish we had more time to finalize the end product. Although I don't mind pulling it together, I would have liked to give all of my group members the opportunity to tell me what they thought. Because we all made our parts up with very little interaction from each other, I really had to pick bits and pieces of everyone's parts to make it all make sense. For example, Araceli came up with a great defense but sense we had all agreed that Matt would be not guilty at the end, her defense was a little too convincing.

All in all, I'm proud of what we put together. Since my group members didn't have the time to review the finished product, I really hope they are too!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

iLinc Virgins

There is always a first time for everything. First friend, first kiss, first car, first online class, and Monday night was my first Ilinc experience with Christine and Matt.

Since it was my first time, I tried to sign in 15 minutes prior to our appointment. I had difficulty entering, and help desk was guiding me but they got disconnected because they were experiencing technical difficulties. After 10 minutes of searching through my email, I finally found a message from the ilinc in my inbox and followed the link. When I entered the session, I saw Matt and Dr. D's name and panicked because I did not want to be late for our appointment. (I thought Dr. D was going to be included in our session). I joined the group by saying"Hi guys" and Matt said "She is here" thinking that I was Dr. D. We finally identified ourselves. I almost thought it was some kind of joke because their was suddenly another Matt on the screen. We discussed about our group assignment and our progress. We finally called it a night when the rest of the gruop did not joined us. Although I was unable to hear neither Matt or Christine, I know we all had a good laugh. Our experience was just too funny. I am still laughing about it as I am typing it right now and it is already 11:45P.M.

Communicating Via Email

Email is my primary means of communication for at least 40 hours a week. I’ve found this to be the most efficient way to communicate with all the different groups I work with. Over the years I’ve learned ways to make communicating in this manner effective. Emailing in this class is much less effective than it is for me at work and I started to think about some reasons why.

One of the reasons is that people do not always respond to an email that is sent to them. If you think about it, most people who use email for only personal use probably receive jokes or advertisements. This type of communication is something you would just read and delete; there’s really no need to respond. I think people get used to handling their email in this manner and just read and delete without responding. When you are communicating through email for work or for a reason that requires working together (such as our group assignments), it is essential that we respond to each other even if only to say, “thanks for the file.” When the people that you work with always respond, this eliminates the technological barrier of spam, firewalls, and wondering whether or not your message got through.

The other thing I’ve noticed that really helps is to give people timelines, let them know when they can expect things. For example, if I send out the draft PowerPoint for my group to review and one of the members won’t have time to review it for a couple of days, it’s helpful for them to respond, “Thanks for the file. I don’t have time to work on this tonight but you should hear back from me by Wednesday.”

To assist with successful communication through email, it’s also important to read the whole email and respond to ALL of it. Oftentimes, people read the first two lines, figure out what the email pertains to, and make a quick response. When that happens people fail to answer all of the questions in an email, requiring additional time and follow-up from both parties.
I have one last suggestion for successful communication via email: check it often. People should make every attempt to check their email daily. If people don’t get a fairly speedy response from others on email, they will resort to other means of communication. Happy emailing!

iLinc Session/Group Work

Well, our group had the iLinc session last night (three of our group members). It was actually pretty comical. When Dr. D sent the iLinc invitation emails to us, mine and Elva’s came back to her as undeliverable so she forwarded us her email invitation. When we entered the session through her forwarded email invitation, both of us showed up as the instructor. So both Elva and I were Debra Davenport last night. It was quite confusing. At one point I thought Dr. D had actually signed on when Elva signed in. I was cracking up because Elva actually asked if someone was playing a joke on us. Matt and I were at least able to get our microphones working but that almost made communication even worse. When Matt would talk into his microphone it would come through just fine. When I would talk into my mic, there was a delay in time so I kept saying, “Matt, are you there?” Then he would finally hear my voice come through and start to respond to what I said 15 seconds ago, and at the same time, I’d start talking about something new. It was fun to at least try it out and we had a good laugh over trying to figure out who was talking.

I’m feeling a little better about the group work now that most of our members have completed their parts. One of our members has had some unexpected personal emergencies that have prevented her from participating. Since we know things like this happen, we all agreed it would be a good idea to give her until Wednesday to put something forward for the group assignment. Matt and Elva both offered to pitch in to complete her part if she ends up not being able to participate.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Working With My Group

The last time my group met (via conference call), we all agreed on our parts and are working on those pieces independently or in pairs. I agreed to put the PowerPoint together and have been working on a few areas that I felt I could beef up as the Judge. Everyone's individual parts are due to me today so I'm hoping everyone will get them done in time. I will use the weekend to put it all together and come up with our first draft to review on Monday via iLinc.

I've been reading about other groups and how their group work is going. I've learned how some of them are using technology to communicate such as iLinc and chat rooms. This is something that I haven't done before so I'm anxious to try it out.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

3rd Phone Assignment

I partnered with Tracy Buckley to do my 3rd phone assignment. I played the role of the employee and she played the role of my boss. I told her that I felt I deserved a more substantial raise because the job duties I am currently performing are above and beyond the duties that are listed in my job description.

She asked a few questions to get some information on the structure of employment levels such as, “are there higher level positions that contain the duties that you are currently performing?” She also wanted to know what duties that I am performing are outside of my job description. I explained that I am performing all of the clerical support work as well as supervisory work. I told her that I am currently managing several large projects that require a high level of responsibility. We verbally reviewed my work history and rating on previous evaluations.

Tracy recognized that the job duties I am currently performing are duties that are normally upheld by a higher level management position. She also took into account the employment structure of the company and clarified her limitations in regards to raising levels of pay. Based on my history with the company, high ratings on work performance, high level of responsibility, and additional job duties, she agreed that my pay raise should be more substantial.

Because it is not within her power to offer more money without reclassifying my position or offering me a new position, she said that when the opportunity became available I would receive more pay. She asked me to continue doing the work that I have been doing and that she would do her best to make a promotion happen as soon as possible. She felt that it was worth paying me the extra salary rather than trying to train a new person and losing a valuable employee.

Although I did not receive an immediate pay raise, she did recognize the extra efforts I have put in and let me know that she would be an advocate for me. This solution was mutually satisfactory to both of us.

Group Work

My group had another conference call last night to work on our final presentation. Working together definitely presents its challenges so I’m lucky that everyone in my group is courteous. We were all pretty easy on agreeing on our roles. Matt, the only male in our group, jokingly agreed to be the defendant in the sexual abuse case. He said he was OK with that since he ends up being innocent at the end.

A few of our members have some experience with law classes so that is a big help. One of them came up with a couple of sample cases that we might be able to model so on our call last night, we agreed on a case.

We did have some differences of opinion on the format of our final presentation. We weren’t sure if it would be better to present it as a summary or as a dialog, such as a script to a play.

Araceli walked us through the process of a court case so we were able to create assignments based on those pieces. Because some of the pieces tie together, we agreed to coordinate to come up with a draft. For example, the defendant and the defense lawyer’s presentations rely on each other. As the judge, there’s really not much to develop. I chose this role since I agreed to put the PowerPoint together and will be responsible for tying all the individual pieces together.

The other thing that took us a bit to agree on was how to present. Once we found out that it’s not a requirement to present on iLinc, we weren’t sure if we should use it at all. We discussed the pros and cons of doing a live iLinc presentation versus just submitting a PowerPoint. After our discussion, we finally decided on submitting a PowerPoint as our presentation and using the iLinc session for our group to review the first draft.

We also had some discussion on the timeline, how soon we should get the first draft done, when we need to review, when the final draft should be complete, etc. All in all, the conference call was a productive one.