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Working In Virtual Teams Webinar

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In this presentation, we’re going to do four simple things: bust some stereotypes about virtual workers, explore habits or characteristics that make virtual workers effective, review collaborative …

In this presentation, we’re going to do four simple things: bust some stereotypes about virtual workers, explore habits or characteristics that make virtual workers effective, review collaborative software to tie everyone together, and apply all this information to a real life scenario with a case study.

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  • Who are we? We are April Hayman and Natalie Kilkenny: two instructional designers that got tired of attending webinars with hidden agendas which offered little to no actual information but decided to do something about it. Our mission is, with your help, to develop a knowledge-base that includes but is not limited to the instructional design best practices and offers hands-on experience of practicing designers.
  • Today, we’re going to do four simple things: bust some stereotypes about virtual workers, explore habits or characteristics that make virtual workers effective, review collaborative software to tie everyone together, and apply all this information to a real life scenario with a case study. Let’s get started!
  • I’d like to introduce you to Adam, our virtual worker. Using the text tool, please type onto the screen some of the stereotypes that you have heard about virtual workers. Let’s bust those stereotypes right now!
  • The first thing Adam does when confronted with something he doesn’t know is to find out more about it. He doesn’t just rely on a Google search, either. He uses LinkedIn, Twitter, RSS feeds, and other social networks to dig deeper to uncover the info he needs. And, if he hits a wall, he asks for help within those social networks.
  • Being a life long learner ties into searching out information. Lifelong learning is typically an informal process that happens throughout life. It not only keeps skills up to date but the mind sharp and flexible. If we stop learning, we stagnate. For example, learning how to code in Actionscript or to develop powerful presentations.
  • Adam, or any virtual worker for that matter, needs to be able to work independently which means that he should be able to seek out goals and set milestones to reach them. His manager may help in this area but, in the end, this is Adam’s responsibility.
  • Making that distinction between work and home life can be difficult when you work from home. Burn out and stress can happen just as easily from a virtual position as it can in a F2F situation. Probably more so since work is always there with you at home. So, Adam, and other virtual workers like ourselves, need to turn off the computer, get out of the house (if you can), and hang out with real live people. Remember, the computer can be a huge time suck and you can literally lose yourself in it. Too much of a good thing is still too much. Work-life Balance: Ways to restore harmony and reduce stress (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/work-life-balance/WL00056) In the chat, please indicate if there are other qualities in a virtual worker that we may have missed from this list.
  • She hires talented and self-motivated individuals Knows how to spot talent. Some virtual managers use behavioral interview questions to narrow their targets down. It’s very important to view work portfolios. She may even use a performance test (i.e. have the interviewee build or develop a rapid prototype of a course module within an hour). If she’s doing her hiring virtually. The interviewee would have to send her the files and his/her explanation within the hour of the start of the test.
  • Sets up a routine. Will set up meeting times for us 2x a week or so She would use the meetings as pitstops and ask two important questions: “ What do you have that you’re working on right now? What are your goals for this week.” “ What do you need from me?” Instead of sending a flurry of micromanaging e-mails she saves her questions (for the most part) for regular meeting times.
  • She addresses goals in each meeting and sees and notes if there are gaps that need to be filled. She expects each team member to develop and deliver adequate milestones to achieve these gaps. She’ done a lot of her homework because she can hire people she can depend on.
  • In order to have a good relationship online with your employees you need to establish trust. Abby will make connections with her employees both over the phone or via internet communication It doesn’t take much to show some genuine concern and interest in your employees
  • She asks probing questions when she sees her team having issues. If there is a lot of ambiguity she will ask questions probing them for what they’re dealing with and what they need.
  • As part of making connections Abby needs to show appreciation for her staff. Informally – in chat/email or over the phone. Sometimes send little gift certificates or cards to show your appreciation
  • Sometimes Abby may ‘check up’ on employees to make sure that they’re not spending too much time online. She also models her own work-life balance by not being online constantly herself and engaging in extra curricular activities. She encourages this type of balance in her own employees. QUESTION: Have you ever worked with a manager who has Abby's traits before?  
  • The tools we’re about to discuss are just a sampling of what we use. We’ve tested each one and found them to be effective, easy to use, and here’s a big one, free or with a nominal fee. Zoho Projects, after the first project, is fee based and the ads are fairly disruptive on Wetpaint so it makes sense to upgrade on that. We do, however, use Adobe and Microsoft products but since those are somewhat ubiquitous we won’t include them in the toolset here. A few more tools that aren’t included here but are quite good are OpenOffice (alternative to Office), Jing (jingproject.com), and Ning.
  • Skype is a popular way to keep in touch via phone/video with team members. Computer to computer calls are free and there is a small charge (2cents per minute) for computer to phone calls. If you need to meet with a team using Skype, you can conference with up to 6 people at a time. Chatting is also available during the call, not only to the group but you can also IM people privately. I really like the fact that Skype saves the chat history so I can go back and find links to resources mentioned during the chat session. Note: those areas that have remote access may have issues with maintaining a connection. A fast connection is a definite must to use this software.
  • We use GoogleDocs for just about everything. Data collection Content Collaboration Presentation Development Meeting notes Why this very presentation was developed in Google Docs.
  • WetPaint, the wiki, is a terrific tool for collaborating on Content. WetPaint's WYSIWYG features make it very user friendly for individuals who don't like using mark up code to post and organize wiki content.   The screenshot here shows an example of course module content shared and developed by an Instructional Designer and a Subject Matter expert. Both individuals resided in opposite ends of the country, but still could collaborate on the writing of the content using this wiki.
  • Teambox.com is an open-source and free project management software. You can set up a project and invite team members to it. There is a tasks area that allows you to set up goals and milestones and then renders that into a Gantt chart. The pages tool is a minimal type wiki that is good for collaboration on project details. It also includes a chat area which we have not used as of yet but it looks fairly straightforward. Messages is a forum tool where you can post a message which is sent to program participants and they can send a response which is posted to the board. I haven’t figured out what the limit on projects is but it
  • Zoho is another option for team/project management. We won’t go into detail here, but we will say that Zoho offers a number of incredibly useful virtual management tools including a database system that can be used to track updates to web materials and issues. The database software is particularly helpful in tracking issues with the courses.
  • Background: Karl is very experienced with use of tools to collaborate and communicate with others on the internet. He has authored content about using Web 2.0 tools so he felt very comfortable using the technology. We had at least one 1 hour session a week where we would share content in Adobe Connect. We used Skype regularly to communicate via phone or chat. In the beginning, We built a visual outline of the content in PowerPoint in a live Connect session. This seemed to work better than sending an outline back and forth via e-mail. The visual outline had the main sections and sub topics of the course in separate bubbles. We could visually rearrange or move the order of these bubbles without erasing them from the slide. Originally we used Google docs to house our content; however, we moved the content to WetPaint wiki to develop the content collaboratively. There were certain problems in using wet paint.
  • Notes: This is an example of a rough outline of a Module in a course presented here to give a picture of how I work with SME’s to develop a course module structure. The SME and I work to develop the content during a collaboration session in Adobe Connect – I take detailed notes from our conversation in the notes pages of the PowerPoint. The process is very fluid/creative bubbles will appear or disappear during the meeting. But this visual always answered the following questions: How many activities did we have Were the content/activities balanced Did they support the original objectives Are there any places where we need content developed? Additional Notes: After each meeting I send out an updated version of the entire visual outline of the course to the SME (or a link to the updated version in the Course Development Wiki). I require that they review and provide input in next session. They may find gaps in the content or areas that need to be rethought or corrected.
  • Notes: Use wikis only with SME’s who feel comfortable with this type of dynamic collaboration tool. Do not force use of wikis on people who are not comfortable. You can always show reticent SME’s examples of wiki collaboration that worked successfully in hopes that they’ll adopt wikis as a way of developing course content. Wikis are great because they can allow you to link to examples or even embed content (flash, video, etc.). Both you and instructor can see materials in context of written content and design. Set up rules and schedules for who’s working on what (i.e. week 1 SME works on Key information for Module 2 while ID works on activities for Module 2; week 2 reverse). Also when commenting or editing content use color-coded text to indicate user. Wikis are also perfect for displaying content for review from peers and others. Process: Placed our outline on the wiki. Developed content in word or google docs and pasted it in. The wiki was great for sharing embeddable content like videos or audio files. Next time: Develop content more in Google Docs before putting it into wiki for final review. Content did not ‘behave’ in the wiki. Tables were hard to manage and use.
  • Regular communication is a must Use chat often Use an editing tool for text content development not WIKI Google docs great for sharing resource links
  • Regular communication is a must Use chat often Use an editing tool for text content development not WIKI Google docs great for sharing resource links
  • Regular communication is a must Use chat often Use an editing tool for text content development not WIKI Google docs great for sharing resource links
  • We took some time to share the following: - What makes an ideal virtual worker and manager - Some of the tools we use - Examples of effective virtual work practices for developing online learning. Are there other questions you have that we could answer?
  • So, where do we go from here? Join our ning Grab our blog’s RSS feed for updates Take our survey Our next webinar will be “Open Source & Skill Transfer” in October.
  • Transcript

    • 1. engage educate design innovate Thank you for waiting! In the chat window, please let us know if you are or have ever been a virtual worker and what position that was for!
    • 2. + =
    • 3. engage educate design innovate Working in Virtual Teams
    • 4. engage educate design innovate
      • Bust stereotypes
      • Explore habits
      • Review software
      • Apply to real life
    • 5. Adam
    • 6. Is resourceful but asks for help when needed
    • 7. Is resourceful but asks for help when needed Lifelong learner
    • 8. Is resourceful but asks for help when needed Lifelong learner Seeks out goals & sets own milestones
    • 9. Is resourceful but asks for help when needed Lifelong learner Seeks out goals & sets own milestones Connects with others outside of work and practices "worklife balance"
    • 10. Abby
    • 11. She hires talented and self-motivated individuals
    • 12. She hires talented and self-motivated individuals Sets up a routine
    • 13. She hires talented and self-motivated individuals Sets up a routine Has a clear vision of goals for the team
    • 14. She is genuine
    • 15. She is genuine Can identify when team members need help
    • 16. She is genuine Can identify when team members need help Explicitly demonstrates appreciation
    • 17. She is genuine Can identify when team members need help Explicitly demonstrates appreciation Practices and encourages “worklife balance"
    • 18. Collaboration: A Sampler Toolset
    • 19.  
    • 20.  
    • 21.  
    • 22.  
    • 23.  
    • 24. What It Looks Like In Real Life Karl Kapp
    • 25. Topic B- Generational Traits Topic C- Technology Across Generations Topic A- Understanding Gen Labels Introduction To Generations Module 2: Overview – Highlighting Gap Module 3: Traits of the Boomers Module 4: Traits of the NetGen Module 5: Bridging the Gap Topic A- Boomer Traits Topic C- Digital Immigrant Schools Topic D- Using Wikis Topic A- Net Gen Traits Topic B- Gamer 1.0-4.0 Topic C- Importance of Games Topic D- Basic Types of Knowledge in Games* Topic A- Managing Change Topic B- Bridging the Digital Divide Topic B- Gen X Traits Topic C- Engaging Girls in Technology Topic D- Educating for Internet Safety Content boxes are easy to re- arrange… like post it notes on a board
    • 26. Used different colors for edits Built content directly in wiki   Could revert to earlier versions if necessary
    • 27. Communicate regularly
    • 28. Communicate regularly Use editing tool
    • 29. Communicate regularly Use editing tool GoogleDocs is great for collabs!
    • 30. What did you learn? Time for discussion! Wrap Up
    • 31. Join our Ning http://elearnovate.ning.com Let us know how you really feel about this webinar http://tinyurl.com/qk4bc6 What next? Next Webinar: Open Source & Skill Transfer

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