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Week 5: Theme 2 – Work Teams


Learning objective:

  • Students can describe what the ideal work team looks like for their project and tell us why.
  • Reflect according to the STARR (Situation, tasks, actions, result, reflection) method on what you should do differently.
  • Students should be able to make their own reflections interesting to read by others (students, tutors and even outsiders).
  • Students continue to analyze, explain, and evaluate what they have learned on all 4 themes and demonstrate these skills in their weekly blogs.


You have been working in teams for four weeks now. Let’s look at your own use of social and technological architecture. What online architecture, tools and processes support successful design teams? Your team? What differentiates these from other types of open innovation online groups and environments? What does the ideal design Work Team look like? You will use your own team and it’s work to explore these questions.

As you explore your team dynamics, you will also be thinking about appropriate group size for your NGO. In 4eek 4 we began to make distinctions between ways individuals can participate alone and with others online in terms of group forms. This week we’ll dive into a “closer to the ground” practices group size and its impact on open and innovative design at the team level.

Our main question for the week is “What size group is most useful for the design part of open and innovative design and why?” We will then weave in some secondary questions and observations about time, cultural diversity, and interdependencies between group members, and then begin applying these ideas to our projects.

Monday Classroom Activity

  • Be prepared to plan your work and share your team agenda with your tutor
  • In the first breakout hour, focus on your own team assessment as noted in your team tasks,
  • In the second breakout our focus is on evaluating group size in one of the crowdsourcing sites you evaluated last week
  • Be prepared as two students will be asked to summarize the day’s work during the Hangout.
  • Be prepared to help take collaborative notes and engage in the Hangout.

Note for the Hangout:

Instructions to groups: (See drawing below for setup of Hangout ) Go to assigned room way before the hangout starts

  • 1 spokesperson per group working with other spokesperson with the same assignment on 1 laptop with camera (practice how a hangout works and then join hangout).
  • 1 person taking notes in meetingwords per group (find the link on the group Facebook page)
  • The rest of group watches the Google+ livestream and working on the group-week-blog (probably from another room down the hall- let your 2 teammates know where you are).
  • After hangout – those 2 team members from the Hangout join rest of group, add information to blog post and blog is posted before going home. Hint: efficient and well organized groups will be able to leave earlier. We will try to be finished by 16:30 so get tasks well organized before the hangout.


Teamwork Activity:

Analyzing Examples of Group Size

You’ve heard the aphorisms. “One is the loneliest number” or “Three’s a crowd” or “The more the merrier!” — This week our discussion will focus around some of the variables in online social groupings, starting with size.

Think about past experiences: when has it been easy to brainstorm and find ideas? Work on interdependent tasks? Think and discuss deeply? Toss around ideas casually? How big was the group? What was the context (online, offline, synchronous, asynchronous, culturally homogeneous or diverse? Was it slow or fast? Tell us a story and then lets look at the implications for using online groups for open, innovative design and in the context of your project groups.

Analyze at least two online groups that apply to your area of research for your NGO.

  • Identify who on your team will do what, and share/reflect upon any insights you had in making those selections. How are you (or not) tapping into individual’s connections and networks? How are you defining project roles in groups and initial tasks and responsibilities? Have a conversation in your team and share your main insights. Notice any challenges you should attend to in your team processes.
  • Look at one of the online groups you have identified as examples in previous weeks. How are they using group size effectively or not? How are they using cultural diversity effectively or not? What is the evidence of interaction over time and how is that related to the success of their endeavours?
  • Don’t forget you have access to 3‐4 hours of “office hours” F2F where you can work together and share your ideas with the tutors (off‐ and online) and Nancy (online)

Personal Blog Reflection Prompt:

Your post by midnight on Tuesday night, comments by midnight on Friday. You are in week four of your group work (after the introduction week). What is working well for you in your group? What is challenging you? What is the impact of size? Culture? Task? What is one thing you might do differently in the coming weeks to improve your experience and the group’s work? As you write this, consider how to structure this reflection so it is useful to your team members.



Meeting Notes

  • Nancy White { I appreciate that you included client liaison - I think this is often forgotten. Good catch. What advice would you give next year's students please?... } – Dec 18, 5:53 AM
  • Nancy White { Fun visuals! And right to the point. I think you are practicing your design principles! 🙂 Thanks for being part of Project Community Nancy } – Dec 18, 5:52 AM
  • Nancy White { I loved this piece of advice "Nobody will spoon-feed you the content of the course, you have to make your own experiences but you get... } – Dec 18, 5:51 AM
  • Nancy White { I love that you used your own photo! But more important, I appreciate the clarity of your description of what you have learned. WONDERFUL! Thanks... } – Dec 18, 5:49 AM
  • Nancy White { OK, your tips are the most practical ones I've read so far. WONDERFUL. Thanks, Fer. Thanks for being part of Project Community Nancy } – Dec 18, 5:46 AM
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