“E-C Collaboration” with Shenyang, China – Post 5

Since the last blog entry our team has been very busy and we have completed the project as far as we can in the time available. Starting from where the last blog entry ended, this is a summary of the remaining meetings that we held.

As a group we decided that it was important for members of our group to go into the year 7 students that were involved in the project’s class and check directly with them over whether there had been any contact between then and the Chinese students over the Christmas holidays. The result of this was negative in that no emails had been sent by the Chinese students in reply to the English students ‘hello’ email. This further meant that because the communication between the students had not occurred like we had planned, only 97% of the project appeared as completed on Zoho, our time management software.

When we realised that there had been no substantial contact over the Christmas holidays, we agreed to email April, the Chinese student’s teacher to let her know that there had been a communication ‘breakdown’ on the forums and that there had been no communication from the Chinese occurring. When we discussed why we think that this may have occurred as team, we thought that maybe the emails had not made it to the Chinese student’s mail box. To test this, and with the help of the project sponsor, the project manager Andrew logged into one of the Chinese students Fronter accounts to check that the email from their pen pal had been successfully sent. The email was there, along with the introductory powerpoint from their Year 7 penpal but was unread. So we guessed the Chinese students had not yet logged on to Fronter.

So, we needed to review our project management and see what had gone wrong. We had known that that the Chinese students went on holiday on the 10th January and so we made sure our Year 7s sent their emails to the English students including their pen pals ‘About me’ PowerPoint and Fronter email address around the 14th December. From this we guessed that the reason there was very little contact was due to the emails being sent from the English students too late, this was not their fault but an unfortunate problem which we had not originally thought about.

After we had learnt the unfortunate news we discussed in lesson as team about how to proceed, we agreed that it would be a suitable idea to invite the client to our next meeting so that we could bring her up to date. We also went through as a group and filled in an evaluation sheet, looking at each question critically on whether it could be related to our project. The questions that did not we either altered or removed and kept in the questions that did. We decided to give some of these questions – the one that related directly to the client- to the client to fill in and bring with her to the next meeting. The questions that we chose for the client asked things such as; about the contact kept with the client, whether there where any changes that occurred with the project that was not originally agreed upon and general feedback about the project. Mark took the questions to the client so that enough time was given for the questions to be answered before the next meeting – Monday 6th February.

When the client Miss Mark came to our meeting, we went through the questions that we had asked her to fill out as part of our evaluation. Discussing and recording each answer that the client gave us. The overall feeling of the client was that Miss Mark did not feel as involved throughout the project as was originally desired. However Miss Mark was very understanding when we explained about the outcome of the project and the problems that we faced.

To conclude, although our team cannot fully complete our project’s objective, we are all hopeful that come March when the Chinese students return to school the contact will begin and continue as was originally planned. I think the main thing that we learnt as a team was to plan and include more contingency time in, or to think in more detail about the possible problems that we face.

Jessica Cole / Mr S