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Academic Hell Week?


Welcome back to school! It was academic hell week in the MSGL program, and none of us new students had any idea what was going on.  As the information slowly started filtering into our bewildered brains, we realized that we had been assigned to teams based on our Meyers-Briggs Type Indicators; but not in the way you think!  Oh, no…they wanted us to have a hard time working together; so they lumped differing personality types and told us to get with our teams and start getting familiar with each other.  Fortunately, we seemed to mesh pretty well right away, and we became even more friendly over boxes of Domino’s® pizza.

So there we are: Team 1 – Veritas.  The best and the brightest—Jacqueline Hoover, John Petraglia, Joshua Franklin, & Rudy Hawkins.  Three of us live in San Diego, and the third one [Jacque] lives in Las Vegas; so our second challenge is geographical.  No problem…that’s what technology is for!  The University of San Diego has a VTC (Video Teleconferencing) tool known as Horizon Wimba.  With this we can utilize face-to-face conversations over long distances; the person talking is seen on everyone’s video display, and there’s a built-in chat room as well.  We decided that to get the team off the ground, we would start by having weekly meetings.  We’ve had three of them so far, and although they’ve only averaged about an hour long each, we’ve gotten an unbelievable amount of stuff done. 

Another tool for collaboration that we’ve been very privileged to learn about is Google Documents.  This is a method of sharing documents with individuals over the Internet that allows for individual users to edit the document simultaneously (a new feature that will be released soon will have character-by-character collaborative editing, and built-in chat).  If it were not for Google Docs, we would probably be having 5-6 meetings a week!  However, one lesson we quickly learned is that each person should use a different font color, or the changes get very confusing very quickly!

So as you can see, although the system seems to encourage discord, the tools with which new students are provided are enough to allow any team to overcome their obstacles to collaboration and promote team success. And if you’re lucky enough to have teammates like ours, you could find yourself having a little fun while you’re at it, too!

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