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A semester of webworking

This is probably the sixth online class I’ve taken at my time at the University of Minnesota. I’m a huge fan of web working because it allows me much more flexibility in my schedule. My life is jam packed with other things that sometimes I can’t even find a spare second in the day in case something important comes up. Web working has given me the opportunity to work on my own schedule with flexible deadlines, which really emphasizes Zelenka’s work life blend. I am better able to do the things I want when I am not confined to getting to a class in a certain place at a certain time every week. Additionally, as a web designer, I work in front of a computer for a good 30 hours a week, so hopping online and doing a quick assignment is simple for me and helps me blend my work with life.

However, there are also a couple of downsides to web working. I generally enjoy working alone, and this semester and class has been such a collaborative process that I found frustrating at time. Knowing that I will need to work in teams later on down the road with my future career path, this was a good reality check for how well I can work with others and how dependent you are on your team to get their job done and do it well. Another downside of webworking is how easily I can get distracted. I rarely ever use the internet for one thing at a time, and usually have AIM programs and a movie playing in the background. When I’m on the internet I will always have multiple tabs opened to Facebook and Twitter and other non-school related sites. It’s easy to get pulled away from webworking when you are essentially having a work life blend even when you are just on the computer. I am blending my time to work on assignments with time to do some social networking and other activities.

Comments

I also enjoy working solo, but have discovered that online collaboration is wholly different from in-person teamwork. This semester I also too Usability and Human Factors, which culminated in a 9 week group project. Although we only met as a class one night a week, I couldn't imagine completing a project of that size without meeting at all. It would have been useful, in my opinion, to schedule periodic class meetings so that we could meet each other in person (important for some aspects of collaboration) and also check up on each others progress... without the added "chore" of emails/comments. What do you think?

I agree that it is much easier to get distracted during work if you are working on the web because there are so many other sites to get side tracked on. It's okay to take breaks and look at other non-related subjects, you just need to remember that you are still on a time frame. I also like working alone, but I learned how the web can be helpful for group work.

After reading your post I realized that I was also a little frustrated too with the collaboration through web-working, but in a different way. Sometimes I needed to talk to my group members about our overview page and using email or the wiki page was not good enough. None of us have the same instant message service and so it really made sense for us to talk on the phone just to get things explained and make sure everyone was on the same page. We did a number of three-way calls. That was the one downside of the class. It might have been nice to have met all together as a class, at least once either in the beginning of the semester or the end.