It’s Week 8 (March 15th), less than five days to go to submission. I didn’t expect to spend two hours last night creating a completely new document so close to the deadline. You may ask “Why did I do that?”, after all, this is a collaboration project!
I was frustrated. I simply felt that standards acceptable to some U.S. members would not be sufficient for submission.
Could their reasons be:
They do not like working in a virtual team.
This assignment may only be worth a small percentage hence they feel it is not worth the effort.
This is their first semester studying technical writing.
Considering the above statements, was it my responsibility to take the following actions:
Follow my gut feeling and create the document (English version) by myself. Have a backup document in case there is a lack of effort on the part of other team members.
Acknowledge that the assignment is only worth a small percentage and prioritise my other assignments.
In the introduction stages and through “small talk” throughout the project determine the strengths and weaknesses of all project members.
I had expected “lost in translation” difficulties when communicating with our French project members, however, I have been pleasantly surprised. Their English vocabulary is excellent and they can easily understand the content that is “casually” written in Slack. I understand that this may not always be the situation when working on international teams. You may have to carefully structure your sentences and choice of vocabulary used.
Another valuable lesson learned while completing this assignment!
In spite of a very slow start, this project is well under way and we are approaching the finish line. Persistent communication and encouragement has resulted in excellent input from both French and U.S. students. I am relieved to write these words now but did not foresee earlier in this assignment.
At the beginning of the project I was keen to reach this stage, the return of the translated document. I often wondered whether I would have to go into my attic and search for my old French dictionary from my teenage years! Luckily not, as Li and Marianne have returned a translated document to the team.
I am very impressed with the effort they made. I also appreciate Marianne’s mail stating it would not be feasible to return the document sooner, as per my earlier request to our translators. This has shown how important it is for all team members to have an opinion and to express that opinion to their team.
We must now discuss formatting options with Fionnuala and the U.S. project members. I believe at this stage there is a more positive feeling within the team and collaboration will be easier.
In hindsight, this virtual team assignment has been a wonderful learning experience. It has taught me that other cultures have a different approach to projects. Some team members may be reluctant to take a lead role or even be apprehensive about being the first person to post online (We are studying this topic in module EL6052 this week). Personally, I am hesitant when posting online initially, however, I become more comfortable as time progresses and become more open with my communication and expressions.