We are now in the final week of our group task, have got some material together and I think we will manage to put it into a prototype of some sort. I have already discussed some of the serious challenges we faced in terms of difficulty of group discussions, technology and expectations, so I will not repeat them here, but suffice to say these issues have intensified rather than reduced as we have gone through the task. In particular, it has become obvious that it is pretty much impossible for team members to hold each other accountable when there is no shared vision and no real opportunity to create one.
In the end, I quite enjoyed putting together some of my contribution (guidance on reflective practice), but I’m not sure we will end up with a great prototype tool. In one sense, of course, this is fine – the task was to do with learning about design, not about producing a great tool. However, I think we hoped at the outset that we would produce something useable, but given the constraints we were under this has not been possible. It is only natural to feel a bit frustrated about this. Perhaps a learning point for the future is to be very clear with any task about expectations for the quality of the final result.
My other key frustration with the whole task has been about the style and manner of support offered. This is not the place to give my feedback on the design of this section – I will submit that directly – but there has been a distinct feel of a MOOC about the last few weeks. The general philosophy has been to give us some written instructions and then send us off to “learn from each other”. This works up to a point and with certain topics, but this task is supposed to be learning about design, which is something we may or may not have inherent knowledge of as a team. The model of “learning by doing” has tremendous strengths, but it needs an appropriate level of support, even at postgraduate level.
So two learning points have come out of those frustrations, and I think I can also pull together some other key areas of benefit from the project so far:
• The exercise has approached design from a different perspective to one I am used to. I have undoubtedly learned more about design from the terminology and concepts we have been exposed to.
• The project also represents my first real engagement with Google Apps, which is the set of tech tools recommended. This has had its problems, but my knowledge of it has certainly been enhanced.
• The background research on reflective practice and case studies of previous projects has been helpful and interesting.
• The level of contact has varied a lot with different team members, but there has been an opportunity to develop closer links and network with some of them.
I hope to put my guidance into practise in writing my final reflection on the project shortly, to draw out further lessons and items for following up.