All posts by Kourtney

Reflection of Blogging & Participation

1. On a scale of 1-5, I’d give myself a 2. I was not consistent at all with submitting my blog posts after the first few. Since I do not have cable, I had to rely on the website. For the first few posts, I had to use the typed up transcripts of the episodes because the video of the episode would not load. This dropped my motivation to do blog at all on Survivor considering I saw none of the interactions, I simply read about everything.

2. On a scale of 1-5, I’d give myself a 1 considering I did not comment on anyone’s blog.

3. Looking at the few blogs I did post, I think I did very well integrating the class concepts with the Survivor episode summary. If I had completed all the blogs, I’d say I would have earned a 4. But considering I did not, I’m sure I earned much less.

4. My strengths were that when I DID blog and participate, it was thorough and in a professional manner.

5. I could definitely have improved my participation by pulling through despite technical difficulty and continuing the blog posts.

6. Honestly, I did not really like the blogging at all. I suppose being able to deign the color scheme and whatnot of the blog itself was the best part.

7. Referring to my previous answer, there was a lot that I did not like. Blogging by a certain date about a television show did not grab my attention, if I were to be completely honest.

8. Perhaps requiring the blog posts to be relating descriptions of one’s daily life or observations to the class concepts would be a little more appealing to a diverse group of students. Or, perhaps having it relate any television show to the course concepts, rather than Survivor only. Narrowing it down to one television show appeals to a small audience.

New Assignment: “Pitcher Perfect”

Pitcher Perfect

Group E (-03) proposes a business pitch assignment for future students to exercise the core concepts of group communication. In order to make money, businesses typically have a focus group or project group to collaborate and come up with the most successful presentation of their product and its benefits to investors. Students will be split into groups and act as if they are this sort of group for a business coming up with a new product (and experience several concepts covered by the text). The goal is to have the rest of the class hypothetically invest in your group, because in the end only one group will be chosen!

Throughout the process, which may take half the semester or the whole length, short blog posts can be assigned in which the students report how the topics covered in that week’s lecture were reflected in their group work. For instance, the first one may be about group development: how the forming stage was exemplified, and so on.

The course concepts to be clearly experienced include decision making (voting, consensus, etc),

  • Brainstorming/creativity
  • Decision making (voting, consensus, etc.)
  • Verbal and nonverbal communication (in order to assure a successful pitch, groups put a great deal of planning into how they should present themselves come presentation day: speaking style/language, personal experience, etc.)
  • Listening differences (they must be kept in mind so the group can be sure their target audience will accept their presentation)
  • Presentation in groups

Instructions:

  1. Individually, think of what people today—primarily your classmates and instructor—want or need in their lives. You will come up with plenty of ideas.
  2. As a group, decide which one of those ideas you wish to put your efforts into. The goal is to have your product supported by the majority of the audience so it may launch into production!
  3. Create a presentation to convince the audience to support your group. This may include a power point, a model, a display board, or etcetera. Choose a medium that you feel best displays your group’s intentions and your product/ideas clearly. You want your product sold, and this is how to achieve that.

Grading

Although the goal is to have your product chosen, grading will depend on the completion of blog posts throughout the course of the assignment, group cohesion, clear presentation of the product (both through language and visual aid), and keeping the presentation within the determined timeframe.

Diversity: Episode 4, Chapter 4

“We’re a Hot Mess”—the title says all! When you have a lot of people in the beginning stage of group formation, differences seem smaller and insignificant. If you don’t like someone, you can tolerate them long enough for another member to come along and ease the tension. However, as member numbers diminish, so does the tolerance of these differences.

Though I am not much for this sort of television show, I loved this episode. This exemplified the stage in which people trapped on an island start going crazy and talking to a volleyball (Castaway reference, score!). Everyone seemed to be a little more irritable than usual. Drew was “pissy” because his tribe traded fishing gear for a flint when they had a flint all along, and his tribe is annoyed because he won’t shut up about the fishing gear incident. Everyone, actually, wants to get rid of Drew… Perhaps the most childish thing, in my opinion, was Drew hinting that he purposely failed the immunity challenge so that more negative members of the tribe could finally be voted off (which, totally backfired…).

The Hunahpu’s tribe’s major issue in this episode was personality differences. The Big Five Personality Traits are extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience, each having their opposite to clash with. Although I believe that most members are open to experience, there are obvious clashes in the other four traits.

The chapter discusses gender dimensions of group diversity. Though men and women are very psychologically similar, there are still key differences, enough to affect their workings with one another. The book, however, mentions that female members often feel undervalued when working in groups with men. What I find funny, though, is that the opposite is apparent in this episode of survivor.   I believe it was Natalie that said that she thought the boys are a mess, and don’t even communicate clearly amongst themselves. So, in this instance, the women feel as if they have more stability. Gender issues, in fact, are a noted obstacle to understanding others and working in a diverse group.

Perhaps the key to improving their success as a diverse group, the Hunahpu tribe should think about listening to each other rather than getting annoyed!

Group Membership: Episode 3, Chapter 3

When looking at member roles and who’s playing who, I automatically set my sights on the Coyopa tribe. The dynamics are just much more enjoyable and hilarious from a bystander’s point of view: you have some people who are passively going with the flow, and the guy who is making alliances with everyone to fit his own hidden agenda. I don’t get it.

I really want to focus on one member in particular, because at first glance I assumed (wrongfully, obviously!) that he would turn out to be a nice, modest guy: “poor, little” John. He has just been doing whatever it takes to get through the game, emphasizing his need for control. I don’t think he really wants to be the leader, per se, but he clearly wants to get things done and done to his liking. In my eyes, this sort of makes him what William Schutz calls a autocrat—he doesn’t have a problem taking control if he needs to, and if he has to lie to two opposing groups (which, oddly enough has naturally become girls against boys) to save his own position in the group, he’s proven he has no problem doing so. In addition to needing control, he has shown a need for inclusion since day one. He didn’t want anyone to know who he was prior to the show, assuring that he’d start off with a blank slate to build connections upon. Well, that didn’t last long. So, instead, he’s turned to trying to schmooze his way into everyone’s heart—a clear cry for attention, involvement, and acceptance. (Sort of worked against him…)

I chose John to focus on in this post because I see a lot of different roles he plays. His task roles: initiator-contributor and evaluator-critic. You can see this right away whenever he tries to persuade his allies of both sides to vote a certain way (*cough* Dale *cough*). His self-centered role: mainly special interest pleader. Dale offers a lot to the group, and Mr. John here was trying so hard to convince everyone that he is a weak link. If you ask me, that’s not in the best interest of the group… that’s just to save his own skin.

Quite frankly, I think John and many others on the show could utilize the third strategy listed for helping apprehensive members. (Because who wouldn’t be apprehensive teaming up with strangers on live television?) For those of you who don’t have the book nearby, that’s to stop talking. :)

Group Development: Episode 1, Chapter 2

The chapter describes 5 stages of development relevant to all types of groups: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. In the first episode of Survivor: Blood vs Water, the first two stages are relatively clear.

The first phase in group development is called the “forming stage”, in which members are getting a feel for each other. It is common for members to be protecting themselves at this point, cautiously figuring out their goal and the groups goal. This is especially true for the pairs on this episode of Survivor, since they were thrown out of their element and pinned against their loved one rather than working with them. Each person has a goal of winning, as does the rest of their group. However, no one wants to be booted off the show or sent into exile—which can definitely happen if they come off as the weakest link. Hence, everyone puts on a façade. In the interviews, they talk as if they’re already close to winning the entire show, yet, to one another, they smile and work together. For instance, when first setting up camp, nobody in Coyopa flat out says that having the “old man” in their tribe is a bummer. However, after the fire is started by that “old man”, Josh says “you look at the oldest guy in the tribe and you know they’re immediately a target but then Dale is the one who saved us all”…to me, that shows that he wasn’t exactly happy about having Dale on his side at first. Luckily, part of the forming stage is this sort of resolution of primary tensions.

The “storming stage”, rightfully named, is the second stage in group development. This is when more conflicts arises caused by competition not between groups but within them. Personality plays a key role here. A great example is the Hanahpu tribe after the first reward challenge. Drew is a model, so he wanted to prove his worth to his tribe by helping with the shelter. But, he kind of threw it in everyone’s faces, walking around all cocky. That sparked a little tension in the tribe, considering now everyone thinks he’s pretty much a child. Not to mention the issues Keith had coming back from exile island: feeling as if he was being looked down on by his other members because he was gone, OR Josh being caught in two conflicting alliances when it came time to vote.

Throughout the entire episode, the developing groups receive rewards: intrinsic (praise from members such as referring to Dale as their hero for building the fire or Wes talking Josh up during the Tribal Council) and extrinsic (not having to be sent to exile, and winning flint and beans for the reward challenge). Those rewards are extremely motivating to group members. For me, however, not enough to drop everything I’m doing and go on Survivor with a bunch of strangers.