Wednesday, January 25, 2012

We've Got To Do Better Than This!

Occasionally, I'll get a request to allow a company to contribute to the blog or to advertise its wares. I haven't taken up any of these requests, and I don't plan to in the future. Today, however, I received an email from Dollie Todd who works for Best Colleges As its name suggests, Best Colleges Online helps potential students to learn about top online colleges and choose the best program to meet there needs.

Dollie asked me if I would like to share an article they had just published on their website: 11 Unbelievable Group Project Horror Stories How could I resist given my love for exploring human folly - including my own?

Although the stories are from the world of education, the same human foibles are demonstrated everyday in the world of business - plain ignorance; a lack of commitment; a vacuum where human caring and empathy should be; last minute - or no -contributions; disappearing into the black hole of virtual space, and so on.

Given that the stories are from education, I wondered to what extent our learning institutions are preparing people to engage in virtual collaboration? Research highlights the importance of this competency in the new workplace, but to what extent are students given any kind of training, guidelines, or processes for undertaking their projects. What are the rewards for collaborating, and  were there any consequences for being a poor team player?  Were students asked not just to produce a project report, but also a reflective review of how they worked - or didn't work - as a team? I would love to hear more about virtual collaboration successes stories in student education.

Just because most young people are technologically literate doesn't mean they have a clue about working together in virtual space. Being left to cope can be a lesson in itself, although rarely a positive one. Do we want young people entering the new workplace with only a negative mindset about virtual teamwork?  

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