Findings from Team A
Team A consisted of 3 male members – Jack, Don and Vernon (pseudonyms). They formed their group themselves and had previously worked with each other before. During their collaboration they were very much task-focused although at times they engaged in small talk and regulation ofnorms. Members began with trying to understand the task required of them and they also related with each other interpersonally, being a previous history group. For instance, Don greeted Vernon with, “Have not seen you for sometime…” Members also shared their current “state” such as just having woken up or their other competing tasks in the day ahead e. g. “manyproject meetings today”.
From the start all group members were active and responsive. One particular group member, Vernon, misunderstood the task requirement and was about to do the task individually. Another alert member, Don, realized his mistake and quickly corrected him and clarified that they had to discuss and do the project together. To compensate for the lack of non-verbal communication present in CMC, members explicitly indicated to each other their non-verbal actions. For instance when Vernon was about to read a website, he typed “hold on… looking at the website… will buzz when I am done.” Similarly, after waiting for some time for group members to read the task, Don asked, “read the questions?”, to signal and direct everyone’s attention back to the communication medium. He proceeded to wait for everyone’s response before discussing the question.
For the first project, this group started with brainstorming ideas. One after another, members would throw in website URLs and points, competing for the most number of unique points. When they had enough pointers, Don initiated the cessation of the brainstorming and asked Vernon to compile the ideas together. Although Don seemed to have directed the discussion, Vernon emerged as the leader as he was more outspoken. He coordinated the ideas and argued the points logically across. The other members respected his expertise and acquiesced. This can be seen in Don’s response, “so how, Vernon?” and Jack’s reply to Vernon’s instructions, “yup…” Among the three, Jack was the least participative member although he showed his presence by contributing points and volunteering to elaborate on the compiled points.
For the second task, as the norms of working together was already established earlier, the group took a slightly shorter time to complete the task. The same procedure occurred, brainstorming, then one person (Vernon) compiling. After all members looked at the draft and agreed on it, the project was submitted. Moreover, from the interviews, team members indicated that they had prior knowledge about the subject matter for this
task. This allowed them to rapidly brainstorm and discuss ideas. After the virtual team experience, students reflected that they were better able to appreciate time management and organization of ideas. Team members were satisfied with the process of collaboration although in overall grades, they had the lowest score.