Friday, 27 July 2012

NET205 - Internet Commerce and Consumers

There haven't been any formal requirements for weekly write-ups for this unit but for my own future reference here are links to the coursework and Group assignment:

Coursework
NET205 Wikidot
Assignment 2 - Outline
Assignment 2 - Final Team Report

I'm currently halfway through this unit and I'll be honest, I'm a bit disappointed. It's a fascinating topic and I think I really would have loved the unit if it had been run in a "normal" way. However, it's somewhat spoiled for me by a seemingly obscure idea to put a large bunch of mature-age individuals, many of whom who work full-time and/or have families and/or other commitments, and therefore choose to study online in their own time, into way-too-large groups of 9-10 people and basically telling them "you work it out".

Perhaps the purpose behind this will become clear by the end of the unit but to date I haven't come up with one decent reason, from a student perspective, as to why this is the best way to run this unit. Large groups and wrestling with an unwieldy Wikidot site seem to have little to do with internet commerce OR consumers. I honestly don't think I've learnt anything productive about teamwork, except never to do this myself.  I've worked in the corporate world for many years, in large and small teams, and if I'd come in knowing absolutely nothing about teams or group work, then what I've experienced in this unit would add no value whatsoever. Having to conform to other people's time restrictions and schedules is stressful when you've gotten used to self-motivation and working in your own time and at your own pace. And no matter how well your group gets along, you end up submitting something against your own name that is not 100% the way you would have liked it to be done, and doesn't 100% reflect yourself.

Thankfully our team of 9 people were all professional people and got along well, but I heard that some other groups came to (virtual) blows during this process. And it's totally unnecessary. If there's a solid reason for group work, if it underpins or assists the subject matter in some way or it's part of our overall learning then that's fine, but when dealing with online-only students, make it groups of no more than 3-4 people, not 9-10. The amount of time and effort expended on team coordination is completely wasted time/effort that I personally would have preferred to spend on further reading and case studies around the actual topic we're here to study.

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