Sunday, July 16, 2006

In Retrospect: Final Project Evaluation

I found the group project to be extremely rewarding. When it was first mentioned that we would be doing a group project and presentation, I admit it, I cringed. I have had poor experiences in the past where not everyone in the group contributes, they don't make themselves available, or the work that was promised just doesn't get done. All of my fears were put to rest almost immediately. First of all, although I'm sure I would have been satisfied with any group configuration, I was thrilled to see the members assigned to my group. At our first meeting we agreed on the focus of culture and the arts based on something from our own background. The beauty of this idea was that we were able to focus on an area of individual interest and meaning while contributing to the collaborative whole of the project. We also decided to set up individual project.html pages right away, and I offered to set up the main page for the project so that we could all link to that as the culture.html page. The visual configuration of the main page shows each individual's culture choice as a separate cell, but they are joined together to show the relationship of our group members coming together to share what we learned during our research.

Posting these pages on the Internet in a timely fashion proved to be a great decision because we were able to look at our group-mates' pages as they were developing. This virtual check in on the progress of each page was helpful in many ways. It inspired me to make my page better, reminded me of things I should include on my page, and reassured me that each person was doing their part. Technology was definitely to thank for this aspect of the project. In another group situation where technology was not involved, you would have had to wait until the next meeting of the group to see the progress. Another way in which we employed technology was that we could email each other at any time to give a comment or spelling correction to aid in making each page the best it could be. Because of the short time in which to create a web presence and complete the project, we had no choice but to come together quickly with ideas and content for our site. Every in-person meeting became a brainstorming session which went very smoothly. We met before class on several occasions to work intensely on our own part of the project, saving time to come together at the end of each session to discuss ideas about the presentation of the project. This made it possible to solve problems and assist each other in a variety of ways. We were successful in maintaining a dynamic interaction both in cyberspace and in person.

Each member had substantial input to the final product, and even came up with an additional contribution in the last 24 hours of the project: virtual teacher introduction video, embedded YouTube video, presentation content, and group interview video and photos. The technology class itself served as a lab for creating our website, as we were able to test our webpages on both PCs and Macs. Among the group members we had a variety of web browsers, so we were able to test our pages to get everything on our site to look as we intended in as many situations as possible. When presentation day arrived, we were ready to go. We started with our virtual teacher, via a QuickTime Movie, giving us our assignment, then we presented each member's contribution to the website. I am thrilled with the results of our preparation and our subsequent presentation of the material. As a celebration of the project culmination and a continuation of the process, our group went out to a Korean restaurant where we shared food and arts discussions. Thank you Andrea, Bomi, and Kanika for a delicious end to an intense project.


At 6:01 PM, Blogger webperformer said...

I would agree that the dynamics of the groups were a source of inspiration for me... I was trusting in the process, and yet, one is never sure about the outcomes... and I suppose we shouldn't be sure, that would be too easy. The group projects were a risk...but a risk worth implementing because it emphasizes human beings as the ultimate resource...not the technology. It is the human interaction, the human solutions that energize us to explore and create...

In the final analysis, technology served us to ends that were grounded humanistically (is that a word?)...


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