Collaborate (a Little)

Collaboration (A Little) Heather Marie, Kevin, and Bob

I reached out to these two on Slack to form this group.  We took Digital Storytelling together the last term. I am a bitter vet when it comes to group work in graduate classes so I am fully intentional in selecting collaborators.  Happily, this team gelled immediately and went to work.

I particularly like the document with our comment thread. The conversations were respectful but frank at times. One, in particular, about holding a participant accountable if they drop the ball, was insightful. I was focused on workplace project teams, Heather Marie, and Kevin were coming at it from the point of view of educators, so seeing the topic from another’s eyes was valuable.

I also enjoyed that some natural humor was shared on at least one of the points. Comments like texts can be pithy and unintentionally sharp or humorous so clarifying questions can be an important skill.

The document that contrasts the original and rephrased statements is interesting as well.  In the end, I think we offered a pretty useful set of guidelines.



8 thoughts on “Collaborate (a Little)”

  1. Hi Bob,
    I agree that we offered a useful set of guidelines. Now that this assignment is finished, I wonder if our guidelines would be any different had we met face to face. Doing an activity like this on Google Docs allowed us to carefully craft our words. I’m the kind of person who thinks deeply about the words I write. Sometimes the words I say aren’t as crafty. So I guess my question to you is: Do you think face-to-face group work produces different outcomes than digital group work?

    1. Kevin,

      What an interesting question. My glib answer speaking for myself is that my participation would have been the same. But if I think more deeply about your question I have to offer second thoughts. I am assuming that my online persona is much like my face-to-face persona. That may not be accurate. And it was your insight into your interactions written vs. face-to-face that gave me pause. If your approach to communication and interaction is different and my personas are not identical then indeed there is a genuine possibility that the processes and the outcomes would be diffrent. Perhaps not altogether different but somewhat different. I think of many occasions in face-to-face settings where co-workers go to silence. I think as well of the very uneven commenting in online classes as forces that could further pull the process and product in different directions.

  2. I, too, enjoyed working with you both and the viewpoints (sometimes with humor) we were able to offer – if only every collaborative project went this well! 😉

    I think you get at a really interesting aspect of online education with your question, Kevin. As an ID, I’ve taken quite a few professional development courses so I can be of more assistance to the faculty I support – one touched on the differences between how you use writing and video as asynchronous communication tools. In general, they recommend writing when you want depth of discussion and time to allow the students to grow their thoughts, where as, video should be used when you want a more informal, experiential based conversation. While I generally follow these rules, I do prefer video for a formal presentation so students can hear each other…but they definitely put time and effort into developing thoughts for those, so perhaps it depends on the assignment.

    Regardless, I think there are very few ways you cannot replicate face-to-face activities in an online environment and (like Bob), I tend to think I am the same face-to-face or online. That said, what I miss about face-to-face collaborative work is the organic (haha – just for you) way that new ideas sometimes develop in rapid succession and how comments casually made (that might not happen in a deliberative, online environment) can lead to really great ideas based on the dynamic of presence.

  3. I think I am missing out on something in that the shared document I can see doesn’t include comments or a revision history. However, having collaborated on many google docs before, I get the spirit of the observation.

    I’m most intrigued by the question of our differing (or not) identities as reflected and mediated and facilitated by technology. Two parts of the question might be, but are not necessarily, related: is one the “same” online and would the *outcome* be the same.

    I’ve thought about this a LOT over the years because my orientation to—and most of my need/desire for—technology has been rooted in sociality and community and art…a combination which makes questions of “authenticity” (and so questions about differences) inevitable.

    I’m most definitely NOT the same person online as a I am face-to-face. In fact, I have a third pretty strong identity as a paper mail correspondent with scores of people, many for more than 20 years…in that context I am yet a different person. But I think, particularly over the last few years, that I’ve found a way in each of them to be authentic and honest nonetheless. I wonder sometimes if it isn’t also reflective of my “real life” split between being a dedicated introvert, almost to the point of misanthropy, but being an engaging and accomplished (if I do say so myself) public speaker and one who is often seen as “the life of the party” (in the very few parties I choose to go to…or can’t escape being dragged into). Both of those very different people are still honestly and authentically me.

    This also ties to the idea of determinism…setting aside the chicken and egg question, the fact is that technology often instills distance of different kinds (whether geographical or temporal) and that facilitates, for me, a different manner of thinking, one that is often deeper but one that is also less apt to make conceptual and imaginative leaps…in that area I thrive with synchronous conversation, routinely surprising myself with an idea I didn’t know I had, or an understanding I wasn’t aware of, until I say it. Someone famous said they had to speak to know what they were thinking. That’s me. And yet I’m a dedicated writer and that yields discovery as well. The human animal is complicated.

    1. Chris, I believe that Heather Marie changed the settings on the documents. Hopefully, that removes the barrier.

  4. I updated it so anyone with the link can view and comment. The only issue with this is that someone could resolve a comment, but at least this way everyone can see our process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *