Week 2: Your NGO & You

Week of September 7, 2015

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by Nicola Romagna: http://flickr.com/photos/nromagna/1919567697/

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by Nicola Romagna: http://flickr.com/photos/nromagna/1919567697/

Learning objective

The students will understand what tasks/accomplishments are expected of them each week and at the end of the course and are able to plan how they will get there. Students should have an understanding about NGO‘s, the Sustainable Development Goals, and how Blackboard works as well as other tech tools like Youtube, Facebook, blogging, Twitter, etc. They should be able to illustrate their learning verbally and visually in their Project Community blog and during group work.

During this course you will explore different themes around the use of online communities and networks in innovative design. Actively learning, you will apply them to your Team Project and your NGO’s strategic opportunities in using online communities and networks.

This week you will get a sense of the course general activities and cadence, set up your team’s WordPress blog and learn our basic school technology (Blackboard, Osiris). You will do your initial research into your NGO and their needs and potential strategic use of communities and networks in their work. You will begin to explore the different themes which help your project on its way.

Clarify the NGO’s Need

Does anyone have a “hunch”, some idea how the NGO’s main challenge could be addressed? After researching and talking to your NGO, you will want to get these first gut feelings, the “itch” out there and on the table to discuss. What are the team’s first “insights” concerning the challenge? Explore these more before moving on to the solutions “the ideas” in the coming weeks. You will try to discover which of these idea’s could have the greatest “impact” on your NGO later on in the course.

Team project work activity this week

  • Get to know your team – who they are, their interests, and networks? How can each person be an asset in this project? Can their networks be assets? What is each team member especially good at? What will be each of your roles and your tasks during the project? Who will you be collaborating with within your team and with the other teams sharing your NGO? Choose a unique name to identify your team (to be used too for your blog name) Plan and set up the Wednesday meetings by the end of the day.
  • Review your NGO’s area of responsibility and the challenge they have expressed. Prepare a draft of what you think defines the value proposition and purpose of your NGO. Which Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) does their work support? What would be an ideal situation for your NGO to address their challenge? What questions do you have for them? What could be your goal in working with them and their needs?? Hint: Nancy can be helpful in this process.
  • Set up and prepare for your first NGO Hangout/call/introduction with your NGO and draft potential purposes/value propositions/goals. Organize your weekly meeting schedule with your NGO, with Nancy and Alan now. You don’t need to meet with everyone all the time, but consider when Nancy and Alan can be most helpful for your team and schedule those meetings. It may be harder if you wait until the last minute. Alan and Nancy are 9 hours behind Dutch time. See http://www.timeanddate.com to figure out how to work across time zones.
  • Learn basic technology used for school projects: internet, Blackboard, Course Guide, weekly guide & the Grading Form
  • Set up your team’s WordPress blog, create accounts for all team members, and set up the initial set of blog categories. This is the public online space where your team will collaborate and document your work. The content from each team’s blog will be aggregated into the overall course site. Link your school email to your private email now (ask teammates for help).

Blog Prompt: Developing your/our learning agendas

  • Contribute to and visit your team’s WordPress blog on a weekly basis. Each week all team members should a) post a summary reflective blog post and b) read and comment on another teams blog. React ½ of the time within your team and ½ of the time outside your team – vary these week by week.
  • Your first reflective blog post prompt: Your individual post to your team’s blog will be reviewed as part of your final individual grade. We will look for for substance, clarity of thought and expression and how well you backup your ideas with evidence (citations, etc.). Graphics and embedded video are welcome along with text. Use of external images should include credit and source information. Hint: Ask Alan how to find great, free-to-use images! See the Blog Writing guide for more tips
  • What will you write about this first week? We will offer a specific prompt each week.

    This week consider some of the following ideas around the value of communities and networks for NGO design. How can communities and networks can support your work as a student and a designer? What does your NGO need according to them and your insights? What would you like the outcome of your team’s project to look like? What “specialty quality” will you bring and contribute? If you get stuck, use STARR as a help method to reflect (1 sentence on the following: The Situation, your Tasks, your Actions, the Results and Reflect (what could be done differently?). What are YOU CONFUSIASTIC about? What not?

    These blog posts both help you think about your work and role in the coming weeks, and to help you get to know your fellow team mates, so we suggest you read ALL your team mate’s entries this week. Comment on at least two of your team member’s blog posts. Comment on at least two blog posts from people in your NGO cluster in other teams.


Emily Pilloton: Teaching design for change (TED Talk)

Reddit 101: Co-Founders Explain the Community (Mashable)

Example educational blogging (UMW Blogs)

Roles, Responsibilities, Cadence and Activities for the week

Each week you will find a table with the roles, responsibilities and that week’s activities. The first week is fairly detailed. Many of these tasks will carry over into subsequent weeks but are not listed there to avoid repetition. It will be your job to track and carry over tasks as needed.

Each Monday, we start off the week with a discussion with your tutor

Each Monday, the students belonging to a specific role highlighted that week will lead the discussion of the week’s key topics and tasks. Decide now which role will be responsible for each week, dividing the responsibility amongst your group. There are 7 weeks after this one, and as there are 5 roles, two roles will need to repeat the leading task of getting the class started by explaining what the week is going to be about.

Each Wednesday, plan to meet up with other “like-roles” from other teams within your NGO group to discuss what is going on there. This is where you will coordinate both your contact with your NGO and your work.

Report back to your own team at the end of these meetings, ideally in your team blogs. Use tags and categories so you can find this data later as you begin to put together your final recommendations and videos.

Throughout the week, you will work on tasks individually and together, have meetings with your NGO and, as needed, meet with Nancy and Alan. You will be reflecting, consolidating your thinking and showing this through your blog posts, readings and comments. At any time, you can tap the rich library of resources on the the #ProjComm15 site.

Now, let’s look at this week’s tasks.

Week 2 Tasks

Team Project Leader

Responsible for:

  • Manage effective and efficient workflow.
  • Track tasks (completed, pending, etc.)
  • Ensure balanced team effort, making sure that everyone has a valuable input/production.

Week 2 Activities:

  • Facilitate the development of your team’s working agreements (roles, how often to meet, where, communication plan etc.)
  • Scope the project with the team.
  • Facilitate meetings.
  • Check this week’s tasks to identify which tasks are complete and which need to be carried over into the next week.

Client Services

Responsible for:

  • Initiate and manage communication between the team, tutor, Nancy/Alan & NGO (voice at hangouts/skype sessions).
  • Ensure knowledge about the NGO is shared between team members, between the various teams working on the same NGO.

Week 2 Activities:

  • Explain/share what you have found out about your NGO. Make sure documentarian has all this information.
  • Find out what questions the team has for your client NGO.
  • Glean useful info from other teams.
  • Schedule and lead/facilitate the first NGO call
  • Identify when you want your team to meet with Nancy and/or Alan and set up those meetings.


Responsible for:

  • Visually and/or textually document the design process, including the challenge being addressed, client information, weekly accomplishments, and remaining tasks.

Week 2 Activities:

  • Gather all the information about your NGO, write a summary, and share it on your blog. Properly use categories and tags on this posting.
  • Track that your team members (individually and as a group) have posted the weekly blogging assignments.

Technology Steward

Responsible for:

  • Help select and set up technical tools to support your teamwork, especially the team blog.
  • Technically set up and support hangouts/skype meetings.
  • Provide technical support to your team members.

Week 2 Activities:

Production Manager

Responsible for:

  • Look for ideas and materials for the final production during the entire 8 weeks of the course.
  • Assist in identifying useful groups and networks that can be tapped as resources or references for the final video/product.

Week 2 Activities:

  • Specify what your team agreed upon this week. Who is going to do what and why?
  • Explore the Brand of your group NGO and discuss on Wednesday with other Production Managers in the same NGO group.
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