Tools for Success in Online Learning and Working in Teams

I believe having good time management skills is very important to succeed as an online learner.  Being able to prioritize tasks, allocate work and play time, and monitor time spent on a project are essential to managing ourselves in how we spend time (I agree with Stephen Covey on saying that “time management” is a misnomer) and directing ourselves what to do in that block of scheduled time.  I’ve often aimed to set my personal or internal deadline by a day or two ahead of the actual deadline to allow myself extra time to step back, look over my work, and have another person, classmate or friend, to look at it and give me feedback.

Working in teams—and the monster that tagged along—in traditional class setting used to drive me into the little monster that squealed, and I felt nauseated at the sight of working with students who lacked self-discipline and showed bad attitude, even though we all wanted A’s on the group project.  I think the problem with team work in the past was not the lack of setting standards and expected performance goals, but we had trouble adhering to the standard and in reaching the goals.  And that is usually true when some of the team members do not bring the discussion to the table where every teammate can participate.  As Dr. Ken Haycock has pointed out, “[too] often the issues are discussed in sidebars with one other member of the team, in the restroom, in the halls, and they aren’t put on the table for everyone to discuss.”  We need to strive for open discussions with the presence of all the teammates and refrain from having side conversations that do not contribute to team building.  Over time as I gained more experience with working in groups, the monster has gotten smaller because I and most of the team members are enthusiastic, self-disciplined, and bring a good attitude to the meeting.  We bring constructive comments and seek to clarify problems as soon as they surface.  My experience with working in teams has helped me be more patient and less fearful of conflict because conflict do come with collaboration as Dr. Haycock says.  I believe we can resolve conflict when we respectfully discuss the issues openly and honestly.

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