And Now for Something Completely Different

The personal skills needed to succeed as an online student and as a member of an online team are rather different from those needed for in-class and face-to-face interaction.

I took the readiness assessment to see how prepared I am to be an online student. I passed with a 45, so I am quite ready. I’m self-motivated and I like problem-solving. I’d like to improve on my time management skills, since I’m excellent at procrastination.


The best way to keep up on your assignments is to make them visible and unavoidable. I have my electronic calendar set with the due dates of my homework, and I have it written on the calendar pinned to my door as well. I’ve got my schoolwork with a separate folder for each class, with a catchall alias on my desktop. I bookmark just about everything I come across in my readings, and they’re in a folder as well. Save, Archive, Sort, Synthesize, and Use; pretend ‘use’ starts with ‘Y’, and my computer system is SASSY! Terrible, I know, but I’m not apologizing.

‘Team’ is a four-letter word.

“And you know, we’re kind of a bit excited, you know, we’re anticipating working together with these three or four other strangers. We’re a little suspicious about the whole thing, we might be a little anxious and a little fearful, we’re not quite sure what’s going to happen.” ~Dr. Haycock

What does that describe? Teams. No, really!

Everyone has to be part of a team at some point; it’s unavoidable. Teams can have members of the same level, for example, students in the same class sorted out for group work. Teams might be from disparate levels in an organization, set to solve problems. In any case, the members of the team have to create something greater than the parts. But how?

They have to work together, and not just in the “I’ll do this and you do that and you do the other thing” way. Everyone has to participate and contribute, not just accept marching orders. Together, the team has to set goals and assign tasks, and even agree upon a leader who can reign in members when necessary.

Then teams have to deal with the conflicts and problems that inevitably arise. Blaming, going off on tangents, discounting others, not questioning others, and speeding through the assignment are all inadvisable actions.

If the team members can get their acts together and stop picking at each other and at the situation, they can perform miracles. Very little is sweeter than smooth teamwork with everyone doing their part.