Describe the importance of self-motivation and perseverance in a team setting. Describe the importance of teamwork and collaboration. Describe the importance of reflecting. Remember to give specific examples from these last 3 days.
EMMA: I think self-motivation and perseverance can help keep our efficiency on track. Although we are worked in a group, we had to do our tasks individually after we set our goals and divided our works. Each individual must be concentrated on their tasks so that we could have enough time integrating and revising our works together. For example, we designed that we should begin making video and poster on the third day, then I must finish all the biological explanation in the script for our data on the second day. Because of this, I was able to spend almost most of the time between 9:30-11:00 today on making our poster.
The teamwork and collaboration can help a group improve efficiency and reduce possible mistakes. For example, after choosing the area of interest on the first day, we had some difficulties in specifying our research question. We knew that we wanted to study air pollution, but were not sure which specific air pollutants we want to study. The teamwork helped us to solve this problem: as a biology student, I read our biological textbook and conduct research on external sources such as published papers, aiming to find out which pollutant or pollutants have the most significant effects on lung cancer. After that, I told my results (SO2, NOx, PM) to Lily (chemistry student), and she conducted found out some evidence that further verified the validity of my results and explained the results in the perspective of chemical reactions. Based on our research, we finally decided to study SO2 and NOx, and Johnson (CS student) was able to found the relevant data and create model for our analysis. Compared to the situation when we had not decide which air pollutants to study and all of us were searching aimlessly, our research was more focused and targeted on the second and the third day.
Reflecting was really, really important since it helped us find out where we can improve to make the next day better. We had big difficulties in finding topic on the first day, because we didn’t know how to find good database and how to select a topic that is suitable for research. All of us were just searching and searching and getting no valuable results, instead of communicating our confusions with the teachers, who were experienced at G4 projects. We missed the deadline for approval and after we were asked to talk with Ms. Shuo, we found out that her advice was really helpful and we quickly determined our topic after meeting with her. At the end of first day, all of us agreed that “asking questions more frequently” was what we should improve most, and we wrote this idea into the reflection part in our daily presentation in Day One. On the second day, we asked Dr. Chun and Ms. Shuo a lot of questions (such as what exactly does historical or current trend requires us to include, what are the exact mechanism that air pollutants react with substances in our body…) if we cannot figure it out by ourselves, and their suggestions were really helpful and our efficiency was greatly improved.
LILY: Over the last three days we have been working as a group to complete a project with each member expert in a certain field. Online communication was a big barrier that we have to overcome to complete this project. We went through the process of brainstorm, database research, content research, information gather and final production.
In the brainstorm and research stage, we met a few problems of efficiency and decision making. We first settled our general topic to be about pollution and then went for research of data, but we were struggling to get the appropriate data because the topic was too general to help us pin down the exact ones that we need. We changed our topic from land pollution to water pollution and lastly to air pollution due to the available databases that we found. This taught us about the importance of determining the sequence of tasks when doing a project, when the resources are limited, we should determine our investigation area according to the resources, if not we may take a long time to gather the evidence for our research.
Also, another reason that we choose this topic is that our team members are all interested in this topic and our area of experts all have places to research on related to pollution. This way we can encourage ourselves when we meet problems and troubles, and we will have the motivation to keep on working. For example, when we found out that land pollution is not suitable for doing research, we could quickly shift our topic to water pollution, and when we found out that there was no appropriate database with water pollution and we used a lot of time, we could still shift our topic to air pollution.
We were collaborated and communicated well during the research process. Even though this might be the first time we are working together through internet, we could still help each other using our own knowledges and resources. For example, initially, Emma provided a website that contains many databases of different topics to open our minds and help us search for an appropriate topic. Whenever a group member found an useful website online, we would immediately share it with the group and discuss our ideas with them. When I went through each website and searching for data related to water pollution and found out there weren’t much data related to it, my groupmates discussed it with me together immediately so we decided together that we should change our direction to avoid waste of time.
During the last three days, we were required to do written and live reflections every day. This form of reflection helps me conclude very well for what we have done in the day and reminds me of the progress of our project. Also, reflection is also a kind of prediction, it can help us set up the goals and targets for the next day. For example, on the first day, Mr. Vivas told us in online reflection that we need to specify the kind of pollutants that we need to discuss about, so the targets that we set for the next day would be to be sure about which particular substance would we investigate on. In that way we related the pollutants (SO2, NOx, etc) to the disease of lung cancer and came up with our final research question.
Overall, I believe that the group 4 project trained my ability of teamwork and collaboration. It reminds me that it is important to often reflect on what we are doing and set appropriate goals for the future.
JOHNSON: These three days have been really tensed and tough. One of the difficulties is that we are doing this teamwork distantly, and it slightly makes the communication and efficiency not as good as face to face communication. I think there is quite a lot of workload in the G4 project, brainstorming the topic, searching for reliable and appropriate database, choosing appropriate pollutants and research about the relationships with lung cancer. Each of these process takes a lot of time to accomplish and it contributes to most of our first two days. For me personally, I think self-motivation and perseverance is really important. I started to analyze the data on the second day, I choose to use a software (Matlab) that I am not really familiar with before. It takes me several hours on the second day, and I still couldn’t figure out how to write the code to make appropriate plot diagrams and regression lines. I think I panicked a bit, but I know that our later research is highly dependent on the data trend we find, and we have to use it to predict future data. This is the time when I almost give up, but thinking about the importance of these data, I motivate myself and carry on the work.
Secondly, the group 4 project is meant to promote teamwork and collaboration by making a group filled with a representative of a science subject. All of us have to devote our own knowledge from the subject to help moving on this research. If any of the group members get lost or not working persistently, the whole research will fail. For example, we are doing a research question about how the pollutants impact the lung cancer in the United States. Though I don’t know the situation of the other groups, our topic is highly chemical and biological related. I do not have much knowledge about these molecules and the reactions, so the theoretical explanation requires students from chemistry and biology. Similarly, for the flowcharts and data analysis, I can use my knowledge from the CS class. Each of us has specific roles and responsibilities, only with effective communication and collaboration, this project can move on.
For the reflecting part, we made a mistake on the first day. We spend too much time deciding the topics and still not having a clear thought. We asked for help from Mrs.Shuo, and her advice immediately helped us to narrow down our topic. So, we reflect about this on the second day, and we decide to ask questions more frequently. We asked a lot of questions associated with molecules and reactions and it largely speeded up our process of research. For example, thanks for their help, we were able to narrow down the pollutants to NOx, SO2, and PM 2.5. So I think the reflecting process is really essential in a teamwork. Because this is the first time for the three of us working together, it’s the first time we distantly working on a project and the first time to do a project incorporating different subjects. There are a lot of difficulties, and we improve everyday by finding more efficient approaches. For example, throughout these three days, we tried wechat audio, zoom meetng, Tencent screen sharing, Shimo document to make sure we are doing things as efficient as possible, and that benefits a lot.