November 24, 2007
Many SI courses have a strong project component...usually, that translates to the often dreaded....group work!
I've done quite a bit of group work professionally and a small amount as an undergraduate. But this semester two of my four classes have semester long projects that require extensive group work.
Gratefully, both teams have been fabulous and I've learned some things that helped them become that way.
As part of one course, the professor spoke about two different personality types that affect group work: convergers & divergers.
Divergers are those who are the free thinkings, devise grand ideas, often go on tangents and like to explore many possibilities.
Convergers are people who like to encourage organization, they are more apt to provide the reality check to the far out dreams of the divergent in order to get the task completed.
We used these personality types to evaluate ourselves and help determine our own teams in the class.
Once my group formed, we started a team website and created bios that built on our converger/diverger details.
We included things like:
- personal interest in the project.
- skills we bring to the group.
- things we like to do and don't (public speaking, writing etc)
- other responsibilities that would compete for our time (family, other courses, job)
- frequency of internet/email use
I found this helpful because I got a quick yet comprehensive glimpse into each persons work habits, interests in the project, time constraints, communication style, how frequently someone replies to email and their expectation for when others should reply, experience working in teams...etc. It also allowed me to forecast where areas of tension could arise and encouraged the team to plan accordingly.
Other useful acts included creating a communication covenant (how the team would stay in communication, if email was the main medium, how often would we commit to checking it) and a team covenant (when we'd hold meetings, what to do if a member began to slack)
Obviously, if you have combative team members you will have more conflicts but most people are hear to learn, want to do well.
Group work is built into much of SIs coursework. because you will have to participate in it more than once your reputation among peers and professors, becomes important and can effect who will feel comfortable recommending you for jobs and if your peers will be willing to work with you on future projects.
(Often, when teams are assigned, professors allow you to detail who you are NOT willing to work with during the course.)
November 14, 2007
Hey once again!
It seems that I am horrible at keeping up with my blog. I apologize! ...and since I am trying to get better, I've dedicated time on my calendar to "get 'er done"!
Well I wanted to talk briefly about how SI structures student advising sessions.
SI practices open advising with faculty.
Basically, you as the student can choose whomever you want to speak with about courses, careers, whatever. However, you must schedule the time and be sure to have a strong idea of what you want to get out of the session.
Things students bring up included:
- Relevant courses for my specialization
- Cognates to consider (cognates are courses outside of your specialization. They can be either in or outside SI)
- Companies to consider interning with
Many of the professors have contacts with various companies. They can speak on the culture of the organization, research being done, direct you to students who have worked in the place of interest...and even better...put you in contact with people who could hire you. Yeah!
- Affirmation on your future plans
Not sure you are headed in the right direction. Here is an opportunity to get feedback.
Open advising is also an opportunity to just get you and your interests out in the open. Opportunities like research, internships, discussions and seminars etc. can appear frequently but aren't always advertised to everyone. Networking is often how you get connected.
And if you haven't figured it out yet, Michigan is ALL about networking!!!! If networking makes you uncomfortable you will have many opportunities to change your mind - sharpen your skills and reach pro status. Seriously.