To complete Project #3 I took a lot of steps in planning my actual document. I tried to lay it out in a way that would make sense and flow naturally. I also tried to include as much detail as possible so that the report would be thorough and make sense to someone who may not have known what was happening at Geek Tech University in regards to the usability test. I brainstormed and worked off of an outline to complete my assignment. If I could change one of thing about the process it would be to get started earlier! Lately, I have had a ton of work – both academic and personal – so I have been leaving everything until the last minute. I know that this is not very wise to do, nor will it help me reach my goals academically, so I feel that I should try to rearrange my schedule. Other than that, I would try to come up with a better outlining process. I pretty much went off of the given outline, but I think it may have been a better project had a been more creative with my outline.
For the next project I will:
1. Plan ahead
2. Schedule specific times to do certain tasks for my project
3. Schedule specific times to revise my work
4. Complete my project and turn it in on time
In Project 3, I am fairly proud of my usability test plan. I think that I covered all the required areas as well as being quite detailed with information such as the location, user profiles, and issues/goals. I think that, as I stated before, someone that had no idea what the assignment was about were to read my report, they could easily understand both the purpose of my test and all the components of the test itself. I am most concerned about the language of my project. I don’t know if I necessarily write in a very “scholarly” or university-level way. I never know if what I am saying sounds appropriate. When it came to writing something like a usability report, I was a little uneasy about my voice. I did try to sound more like a IT department worker, though. If I had more time, I would of course work to improve not only my voice, but also my layout. I worked to improve my voice and pacing in this project, so hopefully that came across. I think that it did. I’ll try to improve even more for the next project.
I worked towards several outcomes for this assignment. First, I tried to work on both my organizational style and my flexibility. There were times when I had to balance both my work for this class with other school work, employment, and some family issues. I had to definitely try to organize my time and be as flexible as possible because of the fact that it takes several drafts to come up with a worthwhile and good version. I tried to be as efficient as possible in tackling different tasks to achieve a report that made sense. Actually getting people to test my documents took some time and effort. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as organized as I should have and wanted to be. In addition, I attempted to work on how I addressed the audience and identifying the purpose of the project. Lastly, another thing I am still working on is my voice. As I stated earlier, I don’t really believe my tone/voice fits in an academic setting. I prefer a more relaxed voice. The type of writing I prefer doesn’t really fit in anywhere, I suppose, aside from reflective writing such as this. All of these traits are aspects of my organization and writing that I will work on for the next project, too.
Here is my Project #1 Revisions:
When working with a group the following sections could help with communication:
Listening HTW pg. 307
Although many people use them interchangeably, listening and hearing are not the same thing. Listening requires more effort and attention. We focus on a speaker when we listen. We have to interpret and consider the message that is being presented. There are several steps to help become an active listener and they are:
1. Make a conscious decision
2. Define your purpose
3. Take specific actions
4. Adapt to the situation
Meetings HTW pg. 323
When you plan a meeting you need to not only determine the purpose of the meeting itself, but also details such as members, location, and time. At the actual meeting, it is helpful to have an agenda. The agenda will help the group stay on track and give them an idea of what the meeting will be about and how long it will last. During the actual meeting many situations may arise, including conflicts. The HTW gives several tactics for dealing with the following types of group members: interruptive people, negative people, rambling people, overly quiet people, and territorial people. All of these correlate quiet well to the styles mentioned in Team Writing chapter 7. The end of this section gives the reader a short checklist of how to plan and conduct a meeting. I think that this is extremely useful for anyone that has to work in a group.
Global Communication HTW pg. 228
In groups, especially at the university, people may come across others with very different backgrounds. This is a time when group members learn how to communicate with someone that may have a very different outlook to working with others and handling conflicts. How people organize, their courtesy levels, and the general ideas of what it means to be effective and efficient are different in each culture. By considering context, we can help the flow of communication.
Conflict HTW pg. 74
The book offers a simple answer to disharmony. I suggests that we as group members “temper it with mutual respect.” By having some differences in opinions can actually strengthen both a group and the product that the group is creating. Having some conflicts can help bring about new views and perspectives that weren’t previously thought of.
In Team Writing chapter 7 I gravitated toward the considerate communication style. For me this style correlates quite well with how I actually work. I am also trying to check in with others and brainstorm with no judgment. I think this is the best way to gain new insights and ideas. However, I think that sometimes I should adopt a more competitive style when dealing with others. When it comes to the competitive and considerate speaking styles, I prefer the considerate style. The considerate style offers a lot of balance in the conversation. I am a shy and quiet person but when I work with a group, I will obviously talk more. Others that are timid may not change and that is why I would work better with someone that also adopts a considerate style. Asking for everyone’s thoughts on a matter is very accommodating to quiet people since they otherwise may not get their thoughts across. Also, when this happens, the group may become slightly dysfunctional. In groups, there doesn’t need to be consensus, therefore, I feel that with the considerate style both the approach to talking about ideas and brainstorming a very effective. Overall, I’d have to say that I am a more holistic problem solver. I tend to take my time and try to plan out and understand a problem before fully tackling it. I always like to brainstorm and set up a game plan before I actually begin to work on it. That being said, I feel as though sometimes I am an action-oriented problem solver. I think it changes in each situation. There was one case when I had to work with a competitive communicator. This person would constantly interrupt during group discussions. Everyone in the group besides this one gentlemen happened to possess a considerate communication style. As he was always trying to win over people or create sub-groups within the group, we all got quite annoyed with him and ended up not finishing a lot of our work. I was not okay with this at all. In the end, I guess the most important thing is to realize what style you associate with, the style your group member(s) associate with, and finally how to work around any differences.