We’re the Augmented Comms Team from James Madison University and we are looking to develop a way to restore telecommunications for first responders in post-hurricane areas. This blog post is just an insight into our team, our dynamics, and our views on collaboration. Everyone has worked in a group project setting before, but the one we’re engaging with is unlike any other. Read on to find out more about the hunks of Augmented Comms!
Caleb Gardner, Senior Writing and Rhetoric Student
Coming into this course as a Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication major, I thought my contributions would be fairly limited to blog posts and digital storytelling. While I am doing those things for our group, I’ve also been honing skills in project management. While not a natural leader, my role as the blogger has parlayed into a project manager just by calling for content for our posts. The blogging aspect has been what I anticipated it to be, although I did not expect to engage with as many digital storytelling tools as I have thus far in the semester. This project has taught me that interdisciplinary teams are immensely useful. Someone always has a different perspective on what it is the team is looking at. Personally, as a collaborator, I think I’ve learned that I’m someone who gets work done and feeds off of shared ideas and the energy of inspired peers. In order for our team to continue progressing in this project, we would be best served to hold each other accountable for our work, as well as put in the necessary time and elbow grease.
Adam Warren, Senior Engineering Student
I’m taking this class as a continuation of a class that I took last semester. In that class, I learned how to build, sync, fly, and modify a quadcopter drone to undertake various challenges. I expected to do much the same in this class. I thought I would spend time educating my team on how our drone works, how to control it, and how it reacts to carrying certain payloads. Currently, my team and I are mainly focused on creating and configuring a wireless network. At the same time, we are designing the payload housing and deployment systems. This is largely different from working on the drone itself, and somewhat out of my comfort zone. I don’t have much prior experience working with wireless networks. The work on the payload is somewhat similar to the work that I did last year, as it involves consideration of size, shape, weight, attachment methods, etc. This project of this project taught about me how an engineer works in the real world. I won’t be working with fellow engineers with similar knowledge and backgrounds, I will be working on multi-faceted projects with team members that have a variety of skills so that every part of the project can be accomplished. So far, I’ve learned that, as a collaborator, I’m somewhat quiet and passive when working outside of my comfort zone. Likewise, I’m very enthusiastic and vocal when working with the group in my areas of knowledge. Recently, my team is becoming more organized with housekeeping like sticking to established meeting times and delegating tasks. In meetings, our teamwork is very solid and productive, so taking small steps like these makes a world of difference.
Zerubabbel “Z” Tessema, Senior Engineering Student
Before I began, I thought that I would be doing mostly programming, coming from a Computer Science background. I am actually doing network configuration, design engineering. So far, I’ve learned that interdisciplinary teamwork is much more effective because people from different backgrounds approach problems differently. This project has really reflected my strengths and weakness as a teammate and how I can improve them. To reach the final deadline, my team and I need to be more decisive and stick to our timeline. We need to continue to finalize our exact project specifications in order to have concrete goals we can achieve.
Jack O’Neill, Senior Intelligence Analysis Student
Prior to joining the drone class, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. As an Intelligence Analysis major with programming experience I came in more toward the development side. I knew I’d be exposed to UAV systems and would be creating solutions for them although I wasn’t sure the level of technicality we’d undergo. I thought I would be working on a more technical scale at a quicker rate, however, although we have been, we got off to a bit of a slower start due to trying to clearly identify what our problem was and then acquiring a system that would allow us to test a solution. What I’m actually doing in the class doesn’t vary much from my initial thoughts of what I’d be doing aside from being slightly less technical due to the networking equipment we are utilizing. This project has truly reinforced the importance of interdisciplinary teamwork for me. I’ve always been a huge advocate for putting many backgrounds in a room and when working on a real world project the importance of viewpoints people can offer is invaluable to the entire team. As a collaborator I have learned that I need to be more accepting to various ideas and to make sure that when tasked, things are accomplished in a timely manner due to other teammates relying on collaborating on your work. In order for my team to improve on collaborating as we reach our final deadline we have mapped out when things are due and have assigned tasks to each teammate to oversee and be accountable for.