LA 122 Fundamentals of Communication
Purpose of the Small Group Project
As it states in the book Communication and Society, “Small groups are a fact of life, they enhance college performance, they enhance your career success, and they can enhance your personal life.” These are the reasons that this course includes a small group project. Another reason is that working in small teams has become an integral part of most work environments. Employers are asking their employees to work together to solve problems with innovative and creative solutions. Increasingly, small groups are meeting virtually through a variety of technologies that facilitate members working together from remote locations.
This small group project is designed to give you experience working in a small group in a virtual environment. However, this project is also about observing and analyzing small group communication. The process is as important as the final product. As the midterm exam, you will be asked to write a reflection paper on your experience of being a member of a small group in a virtual environment. From the very beginning, be aware of the group dynamics and your role within the group.
Successful groups are those that communicate frequently and effectively. Use the Blackboard Collaborate sessions to establish a group rapport and employ email and other technologies (e.g. video conferencing, telephone) to create and work on content and formatting. Effective teams engage in frequent communication. This reduces conflict and builds trust. Effective teams also choose the most appropriate technology for the task at hand. Early in your group meetings, decide how and when you will communicate as a team.
Be aware that each group member will rate the other members of their group as to the level of their participation. (See the Small Group Peer Rating Form in the folder.) This information will be used to determine part of your final grade for the project. Those who participate fully will receive a better grade than those who participate infrequently, or not at all.
If you have any significant difficulties within your group, please let your professor know. Working in small groups, either face-to-face or in a virtual environment, does present some challenges, but if you communicate frequently and employ a positive and constructive attitude towards the project and your team members, then your experience is likely to be successful.
Group Project Guidelines
• Groups (4-5 people) will be created by the instructor. Students will be randomly assigned to a group; students may not change their groups. The group will work together over three weeks to create a 4-5 minute multimedia project using one of the formats, activities and topics given below.
• A Blackboard Collaborate session will be set up for each group. The session will be open and available for use any time during the three week period Each group will schedule their own live chat sessions via Collaborate to work on their project in “real time.”
• You must locate data (research) for your project via the Internet. Information and guidance on how to do research on the Internet is available in the “Small Group Project” file in content.
• Finished projects should be uploaded to the Week 6 Small Group Project Dropbox . Each group member needs to upload the entire project.
• Be aware of the group dynamics and your role within the group (See Week 4 reading material/lecture notes). At the end of the project, each group member will rate the other members of the group in terms of their level of participation. This information will be used to determine part of your final grade for the project. If you participate fully, you will receive a better grade than if you participate infrequently or not at all.
• Consider assigning roles to each team member. These roles can rotate throughout the project, or they can stay the same. The group should decide. Here are some possible group roles:
• Facilitator: Moderates team discussion, keeps the group on task, and distributes work.
• Recorder: Takes notes summarizing team discussion and decisions, and keeps all necessary records.
• Timekeeper: Keeps the group aware of time constraints and deadlines and makes sure meetings start on time.
• Researchers: there can be one or more. The researchers gather the ram materials, the sources and bring it back to the group. Multiple researchers can be assigned to research specific aspects of a topic.
• Technicians: there can be one or more. Responsible for demonstrating various software options and knowing how to use them.
• There is a “reflection paper” about the group experience which will be due Week 7 Details for this will be available in the Week 6 content folder.
• Be sure to follow the instructions for the assignment. Work within the parameters that are given (e.g. choose only from the topics listed, do not choose a topic not listed.)
Suggestions on How to Begin the Small Group Project
Often the most difficult part of a small group is deciding how to begin. The following are offered as suggestions on what to do during the beginning phase of the Small Group Project.
• Once you are informed as to which group you have been assigned, e-mail the members of your group to make initial contact.
• Before the first meeting, read this document thoroughly. Additionally, look at all the materials for the Small Group Project which can be found in the “Group Project” file in content.
• During your first live chat:
• Set an agreed upon time limit for the meeting. Stick to it!
• Assign/volunteer for group roles (e.g. facilitator, recorder, timekeeper, etc.) , if the group decides that that would be helpful.
• Decide on a group name. This is a great activity to practice your group decision-making skills. The Blackboard Collaborate site can be personalized by renaming it with the group name.
• Discuss the instructions for the project. Make sure that everyone understands and is in agreement with what the group is supposed to do.
• Choose ONE format and topic from those given below. Once you have decided that as a group, then decide what activity you will use to create your project. Spend some time exploring the various options (e.g.Tiki-toki, Capzle, voki, Animoto, PowerPoint) before making a decision.
• Schedule future live chat meetings. Not everyone has to attend every meeting. You can create sub-groups to work on particular aspects of the project. This work can be sent via email to everyone for their comments, suggestions, and approval.
Small Group Project Directions: Create a 4-5 minute multimedia presentation using one of the suggested formats, activities, and topics from below.
Format 1– Meet (Name of Famous Person)
Activities (Choose ONE):
• Create a timeline of the person’s life (www.tiki-toki.com , www.capzles.com )OR any other software/web application).
• Create a mock Facebook page for the person (www.classtools.net/FB/home-page) must include a profile, friends, photos, video, posts)
• Create a talking avatar for your person that includes a bio (www.voki.com)
• Create a scrapbook including text and pictures (can use website photos) to provide details about important events in the person’s life (www.smilebox.com, www.capzles.com, http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/Printing_Press/ , www.kizoa.com, www.animaps.com ) OR any other software/web application.
• Create a PowerPoint presentation summarizing important aspects of the person’s life.
Topic (Choose ONE of the famous people listed below):
Format 2 – It Happened Like This: (Name of Historical Event)
Activities (Choose ONE):
• Create a timeline of the event (www.tiki-toki.com , www.capzles.comOR any other software/web application).
• Create a PowerPoint presentation summarizing important points of the historical event.
• Create a scrapbook or brochure including text and pictures to provide details about the event (www.smilebox.com , www.animaps.com, www.capzles.com , http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/Printing_Press/
OR any other software/web application.)
Topic (Choose One of the Historical Events Listed Below):
The Berlin Wall
The Great Depression
The End of Apartheid
Format 3—Welcome to (Name of Place)
Activities (Choose ONE):
• Create a brochure or a scrapbook that gives important information about the place.
(www.smilebox.com , www.animaps.com, www.capzles.com , http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/Printing_Press/
OR any other software/web application.)
• Create a PowerPoint presentation that includes important information about the place.
• Create a mock Facebook page advertising the event (www.classtools.net/FB/home-page).
• Create a talking avatar advertising the event (www.voki.com)
Topic (Choose One of the Famous Places Listed Below):
Pyramids of Egypt
The White House
Great Wall of China
Statue of Liberty
Yellowstone National Park
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