When I first considered attending online classes, I was pretty unsure. I’m computer literate, but I’m not a big fan of sitting at a desk or dealing with the extra hassles that technology inevitably adds. Although I’m not 100% confident, I know I can make it work. I’m motivated, fairly organized, and very independent; so I will be able to handle the coursework. And there is so much great technology at my fingertips; if I’m serious about this whole librarian business, I suppose it’s time for me to enter the twenty-first century and learn to use it. But what about the social aspect of going back to school? How am I going to meet people in my field and learn from my classmates? This is where online groups come in.
I know that working in a group is going to be even more challenging online, so I will have to be prepared. Haycock and Irwin give some good tips about working in groups. In his “Criteria for Success” Haycock states that successful teams have “clarity in team goals, clearly defined roles/responsibilities, established ground rules, clear communication, beneficial team behaviors, [and] balanced participation.” Irwin mentions that attitude and planning are crucial to team success and gives examples of how to use technology to bridge the gap between group members who will have (most likely) never met face-to-face.
What I take from both of these presentations is that communication is key. Everyone in a team must understand what is expected of them for the team to meet its goal. Team members must clearly understand and come to a consensus of what they want, and then they must plan together how they will accomplish this. To succeed in a group in an online setting, group members will have to use technology to replace face-to-face communication. Using tools like email, Google Docs, Elluminate, and BlackBoard IM, group members will have to work together to complete their goal.