Communication Using Your Computer

The Issue:

You're involved in many group projects. Between your classes, work, and outside responsibilities, you're finding it difficult to meet in person. Discuss what how your group could have virtual meetings. In the work environment, will these same techniques work when working on team projects? Why or why not?

The Solution:

Being part of a team and needing to work together on a project can be challenging. For example, team members may be separated by many miles. Even if group members live in the same geographical area, time constraints and logistics can make it difficult to get together. Thanks to modern computers and the internet, there are now many ways in which a team may use technology to collaborate on a project. These all make use of the internet and are valuable tools, not only for their ease of use. Using internet-based programs opens a forum for full communication, where each person's ideas and input can be expressed equally (since their is no interplay of power such as will occur in typical face to face group meetings). Additionally, making use of online technology empowers team members to work on their part of the project at the most productive and convenient time for them. 

In any group project, communication is key. It is essential to ensure everyone is on the same page, so-to-speak, by having a clear understanding of expectations. For example, who has been assigned what, when things are due, what the final goal is. Since everyone is in daily interaction with their EMAIL, using this tool to remind people of deadlines and updates to the project is recommended.   

Another online tool, which most people have probably heard of if not used, is GOOGLE DOCS. This program allows the viewing and editing of documents such as word processor, spreadsheets and presentations. This is quite versatile, for example, even if a team-member is a Linux user and does not use the Microsoft Office product, the document can be saved in the open document format. 

If image sharing is necessary to the group project there is a nifty and versatile tool called MEDIAFIRE which allows you to upload imagery to folders you create.For example: Pre-Project, In-Transition, Project Completion. The folder can be shared with a link and images viewed easily online. They can be downloaded individually or an entire folder as a zip file.

SPIDERSCRIBE combines the functionality of the two above platforms by using a comprehensive white board presentation. With this online tool you can share documents, images and maps.

If a face to face meeting is really necessary this can be accomplished by using GOOGLE + HANGOUT, provided each team member is a Google plus member and has a web-cam on their machine. 

Each of the above mentioned tools are free to use and register for, which makes working together on a group project doable for those on a tight budget, which is ideal for college students or entrepreneurial individuals with a start-up company.

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