Engaging uncertainty and developing authority:

How to make decisions when you are

confused about structure

Combining in-class instruction and activities, weblogging, and UMassWiki technology, this class explored and analyzed our own dynamics as they unfolded. The juniors and seniors in this upper level Communication course produced a public guide to UMass and the surrounding region, while also documenting and reflecting on intrapersonal, interpersonal, intergroup, and intragroup relations.

Student learning about the stages and processes of group development was conducted largely in small groups. Individual weblogs were written, read, and responded to in order to generate perspective from all participants. The teacher’s personal favorite products are the final student-guided tours of the course.

Homework and Assignments by Wiki

Lesson plans and activities were generally devised in response to “here and now” group dynamics and posted prior to class. The guiding principle in design was to maximize the opportunity to learn about an aspect of the course’s formal objectives.

Instruction by Blogpost

Following is a list of reflective/instructional blog entries written by the teacher and commented on by students:

Jan 29: Getting to class

Feb 9: Time to DECIDE, what will YOU create?

Feb 23: getting to gist

Feb 26: What are you/we going to produce?

March 4: continuity of experience (no avoiding the storm)

March 9: consistency and consensus: mutually exclusive?

March 11: Progress! a “Working Definition”

March 24: “Why are you writing sideways?”

March 30: Can we articulate the frame(s) emergent in our interaction?

March 30: outliers and latecomers

March 31: building on success: a 3D puzzle

April 1: emergence of care (as a group norm) ((?)) (((!))

April 5: Audience: to imagine or ignore

April 10: my proposal 🙂

April 14: on rumors and real life

April 22: reminder: After Dachau

April 27: when confusion is the condition

April 27: long-term goals (and the next steps to get there)

April 27: self/team-assessment

April 28: addressing the “relative neglect” of group member training

April 29: informed consent/study team brainstorm

May 4: functional roles of group MEMBERS 🙂

May 10: valences

May 11: situated for success

3 Responses to “Group Dynamics (Spring 2008 – COM)”


  1. […] Group Dynamics (Spring 2008 – COM) […]


  2. […] Identifying Emotions The topic I am proposing is the naming and expression of emotions, and how this can be useful. Somet… […]

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