Integrate > For Team Members > Info for Materials Developers > Working as an InTeGrate Team

Working as an InTeGrate Team

Jump down to: Using your Webspace Effectively | Using the Team Email List | Keeping Your Reporting Page Updated | Getting Support as Your Team Works | Meeting Synchronously

Developing Curricular Materials as a Team through InTeGrate

You may have worked as part of a team to develop curricula before, or perhaps this is a new experience for you. As part of InTeGrate, we are asking you to work as part of a very specific kind of team, with members from three or more different institutions - often very different kinds of institutions. We believe that, by developing materials as part of a diverse team, you will create materials that can be widely adopted and adapted. We know that this is challenging! Teamwork requires strong communication as well as compromise to design materials that address your collective goals. Materials development teams who have been working together have found the following suggestions to be quite helpful in their work together:

We have designed an extensive support system to help you work as a team, which includes:

The rest of this page describes these components of the support system.

Using Your Team's Webspace Effectively

Please use the webspace provided for your materials to 'do' your work. Drafts of goals, outlines of course schedules, and ideas for activities should all be recorded in the web space as soon as you have them. Evolve and refine your curriculum within the webspace. Having the webspace for your course/module serve as the repository for your ongoing work will not only ensure that all the developers are on the same page, but also allows your assessment consultant to view your progress and provide feedback in a timely manner. If you find your team emailing drafts back and forth, you can be sure you're not making appropriate use of the tools. Write it on a web page rather than in Word (if possible), and if that's not possible for a given document (e.g. a spreadsheet or figure) use the webspace as the common repository for exchanging your documents. From your first sketchy thinking about the structure of your materials--the brainstorming and useful link collecting--through the production of polished final web pages, do as much of your work as possible right in the pages set up for your module or course. Here are some of the key reasons:

Keep in mind that your work will need to meet the copyright requirements for distribution to the community. Read about Copyright and InTeGrate Authoring to be sure you're addressing these requirements throughout the materials development process.

Keep all ancillary materials (datasets, images, handouts) in the team space on the CMS. In general, all of the material you create should be a web page unless there's a strong reason not to. The obvious exceptions are materials that the student (or faculty member) will need to work with locally on their computer: a spreadsheet to manipulate, a lab hand-out that will need to be customized for the local institution. The ongoing drafts of these materials should still be stored directly on the site. Upload new versions as they are created and link to them from the appropriate location (near their imagined resting place in the final site). The CMS will allow to save old versions alongside the new ones for posterity.

Using Google Docs?

Considerations for Using Google Docs

If one of your final products will be a Word document (because the information can't be presented on the web or the faculty member will need to adjust it locally) then doing your interim work in a Google Docs document may be simpler than working directly in Word and posting the changed file to the CMS as you go. However, always embed a direct link to the Google doc in the 'right place' in the CMS (e.g. a lab handout in the ActivitySheet that describes the lab). Set the security on your document to "Anyone with the link" by hitting the blue Share button in the upper right and selecting that option. That way other people involved with the project can see what you're doing without having to bug you about adding their email address to the Google Docs access list. Security is already in place for the project and will ensure that only the 'right' people can see your team space and get to the link. And of course in the end you'll need to save the document in a format others can download (.rtf or .doc format) for posting in the finalized site.

Using Your Team Email List Effectively

Your team's email list includes all of your module/course co-authors, plus your assessment consultant, web team member, and team leader. Please use this email list for all team communication. This will ensure everyone stays in the loop and that project leaders can check in on progress via your list archive. If some of the email ends up being peripheral to some of the recipients, they should rely on their email program's rules/smart folders/filtering tools to shunt list messages to a separate inbox, so they can stay in the loop without having their inbox overflow. Not familiar with how the these tools work? Now's the time to spend a few moments experimenting. If you receive lots of email (and who doesn't) then it will be time well spent.

Keeping Your Reporting Page Updated

The web space in which you will be authoring your module/course contains a reporting page which you'll use to document your progress. This page will help the assessment team (and leadership team) understand how you're progressing. It will be initially populated with the information you provided in the Materials Description and Timeline form. As your work progresses, you'll respond to prompts on your reporting page to summarize the ongoing status of your work. Though it's in the same space as your teaching materials, this page will never be made public.

Getting Support as Your Team Works

Working with Your Team Leader

The role of the team leader is to serve as the executive editor of the materials developed. The team leader helps review materials for overall flow, specifics of content that is presented, sequencing and timing. Additionally, the team leader guides the team through the data collection process during implementation of materials and designing a plan for revision of materials. Team leaders are Tim Bralower, Anne Egger, David Gosselin, David McConnell, and John Taber.

Working with Your Assessment Consultant

Your assessment consultant is an essential part of your team. They are trained to be an expert in using the Materials Development and Refinement Rubric, which is used to ensure that the materials that the team creates are within the goals and scope of the InTeGrate project. Consider them a partner in the materials development process so that you don't receive any surprises when your materials go up for review by the assessment team. They can help you with any questions you have about the design rubric, writing learning outcomes for your materials, etc. They are included in your email list. (Learn more about working with your assessment consultant.)

Working with Your Webteam Liaison

Not only can your webteam contact help you with the mechanics of using the CMS (from formatting hints to help on deciding on whether particular content should be a web page or available as a downloadable file), they can also offer suggestions for effective ways to collaborate and can direct questions you may have to the relevant people. The webteam liaison also assists the team with getting started with the data collection process that occurs while team members implement their materials. They are your conduit for passing along any challenges and suggestions you have in using the tools to support your team. Keep them in the loop so that we all know what's working well and where we can improve.

Meeting Synchronously

When you meet synchronously, have one person authoring in the CMS and others watching via screen sharing (to prevent the danger of overwriting each other). There are a number of tools that offer free screen sharing and a number of ways do to synchronous discussion (phone, Skype, chat, etc...). Have a discussion with your teammates early on about what will work best for all of you. Some options:

Know of other good options? Let us know.


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