My role throughout this semester’s class has changed most through my own thinking and behavior than through group dynamics. At the commencement of this course, I was very keen on the topic of reality television and thought that I would have a lot to contribute, and as such I was eager to take on a leadership role throughout the class. Unfortunately this quickly changed as I remembered that I do not know how to lead anyone, let alone three women capable of leading themselves. The group split off into more individualized research on sub-topics within the larger scope of the project and this meant that there was less of a centralized focus and more of independent work coming together at variously spaced intervals. Some of the issues we faced were communication problems, a lack of similar availability for everyone which led to further communication difficulties including misinformation and differing ideas of submission and presentation, and keeping the major focus in mind while still working towards our individual goals in our own time. One of the more difficult problems that I encountered was a differing level of communication between group members. Simply due to the difficulty of having all group members together at any one time, it is naturally going to result in facilitating more easy communication of relevant ideas between some group members over others. This is most likely a feature of any group work environment, but due to my incompetency in the understanding of the overall thematic pursuit of my group’s project, this perhaps affected me more than my other group members.
My research progressed at a reasonably steady rate throughout the semester, but I had difficulty in understanding the overall concept of the whole project far later than it took most other students. This meant that while I was acquiring useable and relevant information, in not having a clear idea of the finished product in mind, I often was led off-course and had difficulty realigning myself with the group idea of the project. Throughout this degree I have had the opportunity of studying my learning processes and this meant that I was already quite well aware of my style of learning as well as my style of research. While unaccustomed to researching projects of this scale, I think that I adapted quite well by compartmentalizing the tasks and dealing with them separately. In my learning, I think that I process information best by discussing it with other people. Unfortunately I didn’t have much opportunity to do this within the direct confines of this project, however I did so in an academic capacity as much as I could. Furthermore, I think that in pursuing interviews with my subjects was one of my more successful avenues for not only researching the topic, but also for furthering my own understanding, in order to help me communicate the ideas better, but also so that I might understand my sub-topic as part of a broader theme. Unfortunately one of my major weaknesses as a student is working independently as part of a team, which was encapsulated by this entire project. When working alone, such as in the position of individual researcher, I believe that I am most productive and successful in pursuing the topic when I am utilizing my own methods for my own final product, which I can then work towards. However, this project was as such that I had embarrassing difficulty with understand the scope of my group’s project, and was felt frequently unequipped to fully commit to my subtopic of choice, as I was unsure how it would fit into a larger context. The reasonable course of action to counteract this would be to fully communicate my issues and seek assistance, which I think I did, but unfortunately there is a reasonable level to which I can expect assistance from other students and I’m afraid that my shortcomings exceeded this. The manner with which this was dealt was largely based around my following direction from the other members of my group, which while useful, were likely a insufficient substitute for my own capability to guide myself through this task, and something that I wish I had been able to work independently of.
My primary research object was to find academic resources that related to my subtopic. Unfortunately there was not altogether much that could be found relating to it that could be classified as academic, so I was forced to branch out. This was in many ways successful, but I feel insufficiently, because as much as it aided my own understanding and reinforced my arguments, it felt inappropriate to include, as this research showed a lack of academic depth and I felt destabilized the argument from its purely factual basis. I also found the limited research that I found rather dry and hard to follow. This research also prompted me to pursue avenues of research that might fully resonate with me, reinforcing my idea to pursue more targeted interviews. In conducting these interviews, I gained a much more rounded idea of what I was researching, and was able to acquire evidence that was directly relevant to my concept, as I was able to control the direction of the interview. While I feel that this sort of research was truly on topic, it was also not as appropriate as academic sources may have been, as they are more easily referenced and are regarded as more factually accurate, as well as more studied and topically appropriate. It was also disappointing that I was limited in my ability to utilize these sources in presenting the final project due to the litigiousness of some of the topics that I was covering.
As mentioned earlier, it was difficult to get all members of the group on the same page with regards to the direction of this project. This was resolved by the overall direction from group members leading the others. Another was my difficulty in finding the distinction between working entirely independently and working collaboratively. This was not particularly due to any circumstances of the task, as was much more likely due to my working habits previous to this course. I think that I would have been able to much more successfully pursue my topic, and perhaps would not have done so in the same manner that I chose to, had I been able to work more closely with my group members. However, no one else had the level of difficulty that I did, and as such to actually work in such a way would most likely have been not only difficult to achieve but also perhaps an actual disadvantage to the other members of my group. I think that this is the sort of challenge that one experiences in any group project, and as such I think it likely that the only truly significant way of improving this difficulty would have been to structure the project and its requirements in an entirely different way, which is of course unfeasible.
Connections and intersections
I see the value of this course as us as students being encouraged to see the media as something that we are already a part of and to investigate it critically as something that we can understand, take part in and work towards improving. As with our numerous other group projects, this one also helped to develop our communication skills, collaborative and problem solving. Ive learnt from this project that in order for your knowledge about your learning capacity to be of any use, you must attempt to implement the lessons that you’ve learnt about yourself in altering your habitual behavior in ways that you know would benefit you. I didn’t achieve what I thought I would achieve from this project, in that I don’t have a concrete level of critical and academic research that I was sure I could acquire, but I think that on a personal and workable level, I have a very comprehensive knowledge of the topic that would stand to scrutiny, particularly in terms of the depth of my understanding and the applicability of my wider knowledge of this topic, even just in terms of popular cultural applicability. I learnt much about myself and my favoured learning environment, and while this is in a way useful, I think that knowing how I tend to absorb information is more useful, as that is an element of my education that I think I would be more able to control in comparison to being able to actually have an effect on the circumstances under which I am putting this knowledge into practice.
Overall Grade: P