The end of the semester was a chance to share the culmination of our efforts as a group - "Group 5" - in the course. After weeks of chatting on SLACK (and holy moly, some times I would leave my screen for 5 minutes only to come back out and find 144 new messages), we finally submitted our collaborative assignment. After much hmmmming, and hawwwing at the beginning, we eventually settled on "Collaborative Annotation Tools" as our topic, which is funny as it was the first suggestion to be made. We split up the work accordingly, at first all agreeing to tackle a single tool or platform. We were inspired by a University Mary Washington post on the same topic, and because (at least from my point of view) while annotation isn't new, it is certainly fascinating and it would seem that new platforms and tools are springing up all over the place to allow us to insert marginalia across all formats of media. I was fairly satisfied with our final presentation - an asynchronous Weebly site that showcases our efforts. I was not a huge fan of all of the tools chosen, and some others were missed, but such is the foibles of group work.
I decided to look at Hypothes.is, and I was glad I did as I have been meanting to spend some time with it for a while. Since finally installing the Chrome extension, it is so remarkable to click on the gray speech bubble to see all of the annotations all over the web!
I still wonder about group work. In a recent course (MDDE 601) I had to write a reflection paper on group work, and below is my introduction. Even though it is from a past course, it seems relevant here.
My feelings remain largely unchanged - I find group work to be a blessing and a curse. Negotiating on a topic alone can feel painful as it can take days to come to a consensus - and not because we fundamentally disagree, but because we are all so goddamn polite that we dance around each other, making sure that everyone is "okay". And then once you are off and running, still there are conversations and discussions to be had, personalities to be navigated, and long-winded decisons to be made about what font to use. It sometimes feels futile. On the upside, I always find myself in a group of lovely fellow students, and this course was no exception.
One thing I might suggest for the course next time around, to ease the process every so slightly, is to give slightly *less* choice. I never thought I would find myself typing this, as in general the provision of choice is considered learner-centred. But, when you have a group of 5, all from different backgrounds, with differing ideas about sans serif font, or whether the presentation should be synchronous, etc., just a wee bit less would help guide the process a little more effectively!
All in all I was happy with our process, and our output - I was happy with our topic, and that I finally found reason to investigate Hypothes.is a little bit further....though I still want to go back and "clean up" the screencap video.
Great working with you all "Group 5"!
Olsen, C.T. (2007). Symbiosis [Photograph]. CC BY-SA 2.0 Retrieved from https://flic.kr/p/2gYYwP