Teamwork & Online Learning

17 Jan

As Enid Irwin said in her presentation about teamwork, “You start your career when you start SLIS”. I think that’s well said and true.  Entering into becoming an online learner was a bit scary, and I really had no idea exactly what to expect.  Luckily, when reading through “The Tips for Success” I’m happy to say I can relate to nearly all of the points.  Some of the points that stood out to me were time management, self-motivation, working independently, and enjoying a challenge.  Being challenged is something that is extremely important to me in both my personal and professional life.  If there’s one thing I loathe it’s being bored and feeling like my intellect, skills, and creativity are not being utilized to their fullest potential.   Sure, I enjoy “vegging out” as much as the next person, but there’s a reason vegging out feels good—and that’s because you’ve worked so hard that you need a break.

When something shifts at work, I am always eager to take on new projects, create new programming, and try new things.  This bodes well for online learning, as I am very self-motivated and I know how to manage my time.  Since my job includes doing a variety of different tasks, I’ve had good practice in prioritizing and managing time.  I’m also very dedicated to things that I’m passionate about and being in library school is something I’m excited to be a part of and have been looking forward to it since I applied!  I’ve also had a lot of freedom at work so I’ve learned to work independently quite well.

I’m happy to hear that teamwork is a big part of being in library school! And I’m actually serious! I have to admit that I’ve had some not-so-stellar team work experiences, but on the whole, I’m a people person and I enjoy a lively discussion, brainstorming, and working through problems with other people.  Something that stood out in both the presentation by Dr. Haycock and the talk by Enid Irwin is that they both believe setting ground rules is crucial to teamwork.  I completely agree.  If all participants are honest and upfront about their expectations at the beginning of the process, and clear guidelines with clear consequences are set, I can only imagine that it sets the stage for success.  The main issues I see in my time spent in programs that serve youth are no set guidelines, no real follow-through on consequences, or confusing/unclear guidelines and consequences.  I can’t tell you the number of times I wished for a behavior management specialist to come in to teach the staff on effective ways to deal with students.  And while I understand we are all adults in this online experience, I feel ground rules/guidelines are needed and effective, as well as consequences that make sense.  I would feel more comfortable personally in a team where we had all agreed upon ground rules and consequences from the get-go.  In the end, I feel this would actually allow us all to be more open and creative.

Another important point of team work that Enid Irwin spoke about was attitude and how essential it is to have a good one! Personally, I feel this is crucial in pretty much all of life, but hey!  It’s such a bummer when there’s a Debbie downer muttering under her breath when everyone else in the group is trying to work out the  team process and how to operate as a team.  It seems like if someone consistently had a bad attitude that was slowing down the process it might be a responsibility of the team leader to step in to talk to him/her about it.  I must note that in all of the teamwork I participated in when obtaining my Elementary Ed Degree, we never had team leaders, so I don’t have any experience with this and I’m curious really on how the team leader is chosen and how effective that process will be.

Overall, I enjoyed the presentations on teamwork and if all students I will be placed on teams with during my SLIS career have also watched these videos, I will be very happy indeed as we’ll all be starting from a place of understanding teamwork.  I must take a moment to note that I am curious about time when it comes to teamwork—in the past it seems that teams I’ve been on haven’t had enough time to truly get to know each other, thus we never made it past stage one or two in the stages of team development. Or, maybe we were just terrible at setting up ground rules and managing our time as a group so perhaps that’s why it felt as though we didn’t have enough time! But I am curious as to how that will play out—I feel working in a team over the course of a semester seems like it might have more of an opportunity to really gel together and set up all the critical pieces to be successful.  We shall see!

One Response to “Teamwork & Online Learning”

  1. donnaizzo January 18, 2012 at 3:51 am #

    Hi, Sarah,

    Your skills in prioritizing and time management will be great assets in your SLIS career as will the good and bad teamwork experiences you have previously had. I wouldn’t worry about not having the time to get to know your online group members. You would be surprised how well you get to know someone when you are constantly sending emails and working collaboratively. However, as you said, the key is to establish ground rules from the very start.

    I am glad you learned from both Dr. Haycock and Enid Irwin, who by the way was my 202 teacher.


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