Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Scheduling is critical in global online projects

Interesting days, watching another online project develop on Wikispaces. Once again I am realising that no matter how long and how well I try to prepare in advance, the outcome is always somewhat unpredictable, and unforeseen twists and changes complicate things, scheduling being one of the most challenging aspects to get right. Although I personally like our 5-period school year here in Finland, it is often not flexible enough for international projects.

This time round I started planning as early as last summer, finding partners in the autumn term and got everything more or less in place before Christmas. And still, even my own schedule got out of synch due to an unexpected loss of one whole week because of students' work experience and school festivals. At the moment, we only have two more weeks left before our groups and timetables change again, but we are still waiting for most of our partners to show up online.

Oh, it was so frustrating in class today, when it was just my Finnish students messaging each other in English on the private project Ning network. The following slightly sarky exchange between two boys in my group didn't actually make my day:

"Hi! Is someone alive?"

"Alive and well... (PS. Wow, finally something on the 'global' forum :o)

I know, maybe I am a bit too sensitive at the moment, but I can't help losing face a little whenever this happens. This is not the first time. I do hope that my partner colleagues will soon get things moving in their schools! Oh well, if at first you don't succeed, then try, try and try again. One day, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, I will manage to make it work for my students.

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