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Monday, February 13, 2012

Peer Review of Group Project

1. What did your group gain from this peer review process? 
Of course, our project is not perfect so this peer review process helped us to identify areas of improvement. For example, Bryan Chung, Jasmin and Hasmah gave us suggestion on how we should tweak our project. Bryan Chung said that we should put our cross cultural collaborations under the appendix, Hasmah told us to reduce the word count and Jasmin suggested that we should link our case study with our project outcome. Their advice is key to the success of our project as they identified areas of improvement that we otherwise would have missed, as the saying goes 'the third party sees things clearer'.

2.  What were the strengths and areas for development of your project?
I think the aims and rationales of our project is really good because we structured it in a table form that is both accurate and easy to understand.We also included statistic of our research into a comprehensive world map which acts as a visual aid. This turns the dry subject of facts and figures to something appeals to readers. However, we should be careful with our word count as we have exceeded the 2000 word limit. We should also link our case study with our project outcome so that the report flows better and is justified.

3.  How will your group move forward now? 
We should absorb all the suggestions that are put forward while they are still fresh and make appropriate tweaks. After all, it's about make the project better so hopefully we can achieve this after following the suggested solutions.

Friday, December 9, 2011

L.I. & S.C. For Research


  • To understand how to do smart searching
  • To be able to compare and contrast information gathered from research
  • To be able to concentrate on researching and avoid procrastination
  • To be able to utilize Boolean Search in our research

Boolean Search
- Helps to narrow down search for information
- Prevent information overload!

4 important elements:
  • AND- items that include two or more keywords e.g. Graffiti AND Art
  • OR- two or more search items at once e,g. Graffiti OR Art
  • NOT- exclude articles from your research that you know won't be useful e.g. Graffiti NOT Crime
  • ' '- to find articles that include the exact full phrase e.g. 'Graffiti in KL'

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Roles Needed For A Successful Team

Leader- Motivating the team to complete its tasks
  • Keep the team focused but at the same time, allowing them to make decisions
  • Organize and lead the group, setting agendas and follow-up actions
  • Including and encourage the participation of all team members
  • Recognizing members' accomplishments
Facilitator- Keep everyone on track
  • Ensure that the team make collective decisions
  • Neutralize dominating people and encourage passive members to speak up
  • Help members realize their potential
  • Make suggestions, but never dominating or dictating
  • Help team to progress
Team Recorder- The other name for a Secretary
  • Write down the team's key points, ideas and decisions
  • Record comments verbatim(word for word)
  • Review the agenda for action items
Timekeeper- Keep track of time
  • Monitor the duration of tasks
  • Ensure that the team meets its deadlines
  • Construct a Gantt chart to better organize time
Team member- the important components
  • Show commitment and dedication
  • Be honest and loyal to the team
  • Respect each others' opinion
  • Share the workload
  • Have a say when making decision 

 I think each team must have one leader, and only one, because leaders are the captain of the ship, so having one would avoid confusions by ensuring that there are no clash in decisions when the team comes up with a consensus. Other roles such as timekeeper and team recorder should be rotated among team members because everyone should have a fair share of work. For example, as a timekeeper, it'd be unfair for he/she to keep track of time and also carry out the actual work task every single time.

Of course, you should only take up a role if you think that you are suitable for it. Or else, you'd be dragging the whole team down. For example, if I'm poor in organizing myself, then I shouldn't volunteer myself as a timekeeper because I know that I'll be unable to handle that role.

As on whether to allocate tasks to people or let them choose, I'm sitting on the fence on this. On one end, I think we should give people the choice to select what they want to do because only they will know the level of their capability and what they can manage with. But on the other hand, sometimes, people don't realize their strengths. So, occasionally, it might be better if we help them develop their potential by assigning them a specific role.

Team Roles

Our team strengths are quite evenly spread as out of 8 key areas, our team members have covered 6 with the exception of Coordinator and Shaper.

With 2 plants (Carlos and Azzah), we can trust them to come up with great ideas which are creative and innovative! For example, Azzah came up with the idea that we actually seek permission from the city council to vandalise a wall in KL to record down general views of Malaysians about vandalism. This can be compared to the reactions with other people all over the world.

We have 1 teamworker, who is Bryan, whom we can trust to be supportive at all time. An important trait of a team worker is that he/she must be sociable, which Bryan demonstrates.

Next, we have 2 Complete-Finishers (Nicole and Bryan) who are highly motivated and very task-focused. They will ensure that the work will be done on time and will be less prone to distractions and going off track. This can be seen from their willingness to set deadlines and ensure that everything is done by then.

We also have 2 Monitor-Evaluators (Nicole and Bryan) who are cautious and and take everything into account. Monitor-Evaluators are very critical minded and before accepting a given idea, they would question the sensibility/ different aspects of the idea. This would ensure that our work is of standard and we do not include unnecessary things in our outcome.

We have 1 Implementer, who is Nicole. An implementer is important because he/she is very systematic and organized. This was demonstrated throughout the mock group project through updates and minutes of the mock project agenda.

We are missing Cordinators and Shapers but after reading the criterion of those two personalities, we discovered that these 2 traits are quite similar to Complete-Finishers and Implementers so Bryan and Nicole can cover the other two traits, with help from Carlos and Azzah.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mock Group Project Self Reflection

The Group Work
1. What have I contributed to the group project?
In our mock project, I’m involved in several tasks. One of them is setting the agenda of our meeting and also deciding on homework tasks for team members. I’ve also helped in researching for the Peak Oil debate, from a National point of view. After I’ve collected relevant information, I summarized them in the form of a table. Then, my group had to decide on our project outcome and through our brainstorming and discussions, we decided on presenting data in the form of a mockumentary- a combination of a spoof and a documentary. After watching a few Nigahiga videos, I gave suggestions on how we can animate our video so that it would be more engaging, but at the same time effectively convey our information. I also took part in writing the script of the mockumentary with my team members. With the help from my team members, I created a Gantt Chart that helped my team organize our work more effectively and ensure that we can meet deadlines on time.

2. What would I do differently next time?  Why?
In our mock group project, I felt that Terry, one of my teammates, was rather left out from our conversations and discussions. His passive nature agrees with whatever we as a group decide, but little in giving suggestions. Thus, next time, I’ll try to be more inclusive in our discussions, so that he will be a more active member

3. What have I learnt about working together?
I’ve learnt the importance of communication from several weeks of team work. It is important for us to voice out our opinions effectively and engage actively in discussions. If there are areas where I am unsure of, I always make sure that I consult my team members so that they can guide me. Keeping to ourselves even when we don’t understand what is going on should be avoided at all cost because this attitude would disturb the mechanics of the team. Working together also taught me to be a better listener. In a team, we take turns in giving ideas, so I’ve learnt to listen ardently and give considerable thought to ideas put up by team members.

4. What has been good/challenging about working as part of a group?
There are many advantages in working in a group. For me, team work has helped in conceiving new ideas. Brainstorming sessions help to develop creative  ways of completing our tasks, which might not be possible if we are doing it individually. Team work also enables us to complete tasks more efficiently. For example, for the Peak Oil debate, rather than researching all areas of it, we divided it into several sections and allocated them among team members. Team work also makes learning more interesting and engaging as we get to exchange views and share ideas. However, one thing to avoid is getting distracted while carrying out tasks. Sometimes, discussions can go off topic, which results in little work being done. While having fun, we must always keep in mind to stay focused at the same time.

What have I learnt doing the project?
1. What have I learnt about;
a) deciding on and planning a project?
Planning is essential before we carry out the actual task. Therefore, we must give considerable time in the planning process so that everything runs smoothly when we start work. This process is the key foundation of any process and so it has to be done intricately and carefully.

b) planning and producing research?
Like any research work, it must be based on reliable sources- not from any website that people on the web can edit easily and tamper with data. However, when researching on a topic that you are unfamiliar with, it is acceptable to get a rough idea of what it is about from Wikipedia, but we should always avoid quoting from Wikipedia because the information is deemed unreliable. Always quote data from academic websites.

c) reading and presenting my ideas?
When we suggest ideas to our team members, always support them with explanations. Your team members might not understand the relevance of your ideas, so it is essential that we patiently and confidently explain the gist to them.

d) time management?
I’ve learnt the importance of completing tasks on time. If we don’t practice this habit, our work would pile up, which compromises the momentum of the team. Thus, it is important to give a suitable duration to our tasks and more importantly sticking to the deadline.

2. What would you do differently to develop these skills?
I’m satisfied with how the whole process shaped these skills in me.

3. How did I approach my individual contribution?
I was very committed in my group work. I was ready to contribute in any way that would benefit my team. Whenever I’ve completed tasks allocated to me, I’m always prepared to receive useful feedback from my team members and repair my weaknesses from there.
4. What are the most valuable points I have learnt?  Why?
Everyone’s listening skills definitely improved from this mock project. In my group, we gave everyone the opportunity to have a say in the decisions that we make. The process is that we have to get majority’s consent before giving the green light, and I believe that made us more cohesive.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Gantt Chart

What is it?
A gantt chart is a horizontal bar chart that stretches over a timeline to show scheduled and completed work. It is a very useful tool in work that involves groups because it is a visual display of tasks that have to be completed over a specific period of time. The visual representation of the duration, that can be set, and the order of tasks allows us to see clearly what work needs to be done first and the time scale that is allocated.

A gantt chart can possibly speed things up in a group work, as we can determine which work can be done simultaneously. For example, in a house-building stimulation that we carried out in class today, we found that plumbing a house, which requires 2 weeks, and fixing the electrics, which also takes 2 weeks can be done simultaneously, meaning we only 2 weeks to complete both at the same time- otherwise, separating the task will take 4 weeks. This shows that the gantt chart helps us to plan our group tasks so that we can effectively complete it in the shortest time possible.

Tips on using Gantt Chart
  • Before constructing one, list down the tasks. Then, you can see clearly and decide which has to be done first.
  • Notice that some of the work can be done simultaneously, so overlap the tasks to save time.
  • Colour code the tasks to distinguish who does what
  • Give a reasonable time scale for your tasks
  • If you've finished your task way ahead of the deadline, you can refer to the Gantt chart to see what other tasks you can help with.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Busy week Reflection

It was a pretty busy week for me on-and-off GP class. The main thing we focused on this week is planning for our video. This includes the information needed to support our argument, our video script/plan and video footages we want to record. Our focus on our video is centred on political, social and economical; we think it's suitable to integrate them together because they are related one way or another. At first, we decided to produce a documentary- literally, a long documentary- with lots of facts and figures, but after much deliberation that might not be interesting and viable. So, we came up with the idea of a mockumentary, inspired by Nigahiga, which is more appealing to our audience, which consists of school students.

As usual, we allocate roles to group members to work more efficiently. Our brainstorming session for ideas are very successful because each of us gave creative ideas on how to make our video more engaging- and funny! After all, nobody wants to watch a dull and boring 15-minute video with a solemn pace and tone. Communication skills were vital in this process as it determines whether we are brave in conveying our ideas or not- in our case, we did not shy away from giving ideas so as a whole, we were good contributors.

This video planning process really stimulated creative thinking. It really tested our multimedia skills and imagination. From a contentious and rather solemn subject, we manage to transform it into something more approachable, understandable, fun and appealing.