Often during the course of a project, many issues can arise which require ‘thinking on your feet’ or to give it its proper name ‘reflection in action’ (Schon, 1983). This project is no different, we have had to consider the situation and then make a decision based on what feels right at the time. Even if we have had a couple of days to think about the issue and decide on the best way forward, it is still decision making ‘in action’; there is no going back and starting again!
As we rapidly head towards the mid point of the project we have already made a number of these types of decisions – the best way to communicate, which software to use, how to form a ‘performing team’ from two groups of students…
An example of a decision that we have made during the project that might have been different with the benefit of hindsight, was the cohort of students the core group is made up from. The initial plan was to look for a group of 25 volunteer students from the second year level 3 students on the Futures Programme, run the initial training with the whole cohort and the advanced training with a volunteer core group. However this didn’t go according to plan. Having delivered a 15 minute session about the project to the initial cohort and asked for volunteers, we only received a handful of responses. We decided to open the project up to the first year students on the Futures Programme and the A level students too, to help us reach our 25 student target.
This decision did help us to recruit further students, some of whom are highly motivated, but it also created a whole extra level of complexity to the project.
From this, timetabling constraints developed as the first years and second years have different days off college; one being a study day and the other a work day. The A level students have totally different timetables so it hasn’t been possible to have all the students meet face to face on the same day.
We now have two groups; one that meets on a Monday and the other on a Tuesday. So the question arises, “How do you get the two groups to perform as a team when they don’t meet face to face?” We are working on this at the moment, and using a Moodle course that they can use to contact each other and see what work has been completed. We have tried to facilitate virtual meetings, testing out different potential webinar platforms but this has been difficult to arrange and achieve due to the differing deadlines on each of the courses that the students are on. We will continue to try and pre-empt potential issues but I am sure there will be more ‘thinking on our feet’ to come before the end of this project!
SCHÖN D A (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: how professionals think in action London: Temple Smith
Post by Emma Procter-Legg
Students4WebES Project Manager