I have to admit I love working online and that was one of the main reasons I was really excited to see that the post-MLIS certificate program was completely online based. There are the practical reasons such as not wanting to have to drive down to San Jose, fight traffic, find parking, arrange child care, etc but I also just love interacting online. I have a Twitter account, Facebook, two personal blogs, I follow other blogs in Google Reader and admittedly spend way too much time on Pinterest.
That said before signing up I really did sit down and consider many of the questions brought up on the assessments such as am I self-motivated enough to keep up with the class schedule and would I miss that face to face interaction with the other students and the instructor. I felt confident enough to go ahead and request to join the program. So far I have not been disappointed and have found the various tools such as the Blackboard, discussion forums and emails to work well for me.
Another area I had some trepidation about was group work. Dr. Haycock was all too accurate when he said that working in teams is becoming more and more common in the work place. I do not work in a library but at my current job we are constantly working on teams whether they be short term teams to solve a problem or long term teams which were work in on a daily basis. This past year we had to work in Scrum teams which were made up of 5-8 team members to plan, implement and test a group of features for a piece of software. We went through all the phases Dr. Haycock mentioned. We did spend quite a bit of time in the storming phase as we had to get used to the personalities that made up the group, figure out the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, figure out how to work as a group towards a common goal rather than as individuals and how to work out conflict in a healthy manner. It wasn’t easy and it took a long time to move past that phase but it was a great feeling once we got into a rhythm that worked well for our team.
My main personal fear about working on teams is not that I don’t trust others work but more so the fears Ms. Irwin mentions about thinking I will have nothing to offer or I will get it wrong. If I am working as an individual if I make a mistake the only person I am most likely to harm is myself. In a group I worry that a mistake I make will have consequences for everyone. This is a self-confidence issue I have been actively working on and have found it much easier to overcome when the team has a good communication process in place, everyone has a positive attitude and are open about talking through any issues rather than griping in the halls or in the restroom as Dr. Haycock mentions.
My favorite part about working in a team is the differing view points you gain by having a mix of people on the team.