Case Briefing: Supporting Faculty Use of a Course-Management System
Project Files: TTrustcasebriefing.zip
Class: ED 795A
ED 795A was an all-encompassing class. Not only did we have a 14-week project to work on with a client, we also had smaller assignments, a case briefing, and attended online sessions with EDTEC Alumni panels to learn more about life after EDTEC. The Case Briefing assignment was one of the most valuable assignments that I completed in the EDTEC program. While I enjoyed the research, evaluation, and client projects from other classes, the Case Briefing was a true test as to whether I understood how to apply the ADDIE process to solve a problem. I was fortunate to be teamed up with Dana Ditman, a COMET student, for 795A who offered support as well as her own point of view during the assignment. We worked well together to solve the problem presented to us in the Case Briefing.
I have worked with many teammates throughout the EDTEC program and our standard way of doing things was to split up the work evenly (i.e., I’ll write the first four sections, you write the last four sections). While this seemed like a solution, somehow I always ended up doing more work than my teammate. Dana Ditman was a unique individual to work with. Instead of splitting up the work, we read the Case Briefing assignment, wrote our own summary and answered the key questions and then shared those with each other. We then spent time discussing how to meld our ideas into one final document. Interestingly, Dana pointed out that my style was more factual. I summarized the Case Briefing in very technical terms. Meanwhile, Dana’s style was narrative and informal. Our two styles really melded well for this assignment (as well as all of our other assignments in 795A) because I was able to take the important facts and present them in an appealing and engaging narrative in our powerpoint.
Problems and Opportunities:
One of the toughest parts about working with a team is that I prefer to finish assignments as soon as I can (usually 2-3 weeks before they are due), while I have yet to have a teammate that is as motivated to finish assignments early as I am. Dana was very busy and stressed from dealing with her EDTEC 670 group, which was having a lot of problems getting their game approved by Bernie Dodge. Dana was in charge of the design and she had to re-design a lot, which meant that she spent a lot more time focusing on EDTEC 670 than ED 795A. It was a challenge for me to be patient, but in the end it always worked out well because Dana did her part better than I could have done it alone. Also, as the team leader, I learned very quickly that it was more important to understand how my teammate was doing in order to make our team productive. I would check in with Dana and her EDTEC 670 project and if she was too overwhelmed, I would offer to take some of her 795A work for her that week. Then once she was less stressed, she worked hard to make sure she did an equal amount of work.
On the other hand, one of the greatest opportunities in ED 795A was being able to have a teammate by my side throughout the entire process. While I am confident that I would have done well on the projects alone, having a teammate challenged me to do better in many ways. Dana helped me accomplish more than I could have imagined, she had great ideas for the project (something I’ve always had trouble with) and she was a very well spoken individual which helped our communications with our client and project evaluator. It seemed that our strengths complemented each other. I had many troublesome experiences with other teammates in the EDTEC program and I was not looking forward to having a teammate in ED 795A. However, Dana helped me learn the value of working with others.
I recently took the Gallup StrengthsFinder and Strengths-Based Leadership test. Along with my top five strengths, I also received a printout showing how my strengths fit within four categories (executing, influencing, relationship-building, and strategic). Not surprisingly, my strengths fit well within executing, influencing, and partially in strategic. While I enjoy meeting and building relationships with others, my work style is usually too intense to share with other individuals. However, the Strengths-Based Leadership book emphasized the importance of building a team where everyone’s strengths complement each other. As I mentioned previously, working with Dana opened my eyes to the value of teamwork – not only because we accomplished more together, but also because her strengths complemented mine. Although Dana did not take the StrengthsFinder test, I am positive that she would have strengths within the relationship-building and strategic categories. I could always count on Dana to write very friendly and informative communications with our client, while I stuck with the technical aspects, such as the data analysis and presenting the findings in a technical way. Working with Dana really proved to me the benefits of working with a team, which I now understand is essential to doing well in whatever career I decide to pursue.
Field of Educational Technology:
One of the takeaways from the EDTEC Alumni panels during 795A was that whatever career I chose, establishing positive relationship with others and working on a team are important skills to have. All of my teams throughout the EDTEC program have provided different and invaluable experiences. Not only did I learn what areas I need help with, I learned how to combine my strengths with others to produce significant results.
I hope to become an educational administrator that reforms schools in order to provide equitable education to all students. I know that I won’t be able to achieve this alone. The interpersonal and teamwork skills that I have learned in EDTEC will be extremely useful in helping me achieve my goals and I am very fortunate that interpersonal skills are considered a valuable trait for the EDTEC program.
Rath, T., & Conchie, B. (2009). Strengths-based leadership. New York: Gallup Press.