Saturday, 22 June 2013

Block 3

I've had almost a week now to reflect on what was block 3 - the AoD project. It has probably been the most crazy 6 weeks of my life.

At the beginning I was a bit confused as to why I was placed under the topic of assessing multimedia artefacts, as it was not a priority choice. As the project started to get rolling, I could see the sense in why I was chosen for this, especially when I though about it in my own work context. Also, what's the point in doing the same old - it doesn't do any harm to be taken out of your comfort zone.

Working in groups isn't easy at the best of times, never mind when you are working over large distance. The communication methods chosen by our team were very effective. We would tweet all the time and almost every day - this was good for short sharp conversation. As team leader, I had my eye on twitter constantly and found myself tweeting at the oddest of times - during classes and in meetings whilst during the day at work. Even though we were supposed to impose a hierarchy within our team, it wasn't really like that - there was equal decision making within the team. This suited everyone and was effective. For example there were occasions when not all team members could be present and decisions had to be taken. If they had not been, then we would have risked our schedule - which we managed to stick to throughout the duration. We had some good face-to-face sessions as well through Elluminate - a session on Friday night after a couple of beers is always fun.

As we moved into our design and things started to unfold, it was sometimes difficult to keep track of activities, who was to do what, what was to be part of the site and what was to be blogged. This seemed to bring out frustrations in other teams. We were very lucky in that the project manager, Trish, was good at saying, 'OK, here's what we've done, and here's a list of what we need to do and who's to do it.' I found that massively helpful. As the design components started coming together it was easy to piece things together in the prototype and see how the approaches that each team member was taking, could be utilised within the assessment framework kit.

I found by the time we got to the heuristic evaluation stage, I was beginning to run out of steam a little. I had to really motivate myself to examine another prototype and feed back on it. However once I got myself going, I enjoyed looking at the coxless4 site - I was amazed by the amount of time they had dedicated to actually building a very useful resource.

Now that it's over and I've given myself a week to reflect, I am happy with the work we produced. The most valuable part of the process for me personally, was the team working aspect and how we utilised technology very effectively for communication. It was good to dip in to a Google doc, see Trish or Priya working on it and have a quick chat. During the process itself I enjoyed the case study research - I spent a few solid days on this and found lots of great stuff.

Probably the biggest factor however is that I have a load of headspace back - I didn't realise just how much the AoD project was dominating my life, the OU does have a habit of doing this.

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