Educational Development

The problem of project management

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Here is EDC we have 3 programme developers. Each of us have the responsibility to motivate staff to develop and/or redevelop their courses and programmes so that they reach existing students more efficiently, or new students all together. Flexible learning has been flagged as the most appropriate way to do this - and by that there seems to be an emphasis on online learning.

Now, one of the problems we have is that each of us meet with different people in the Departments and talk about different things, therefore progressing projects differently. We need a way to record and communicate progress effectively so that we can all have a chance to look in on each other's work. Meetings are one way, but we need more. I tried to inspire blogging as a way to record progress - but I think it is felt to be too time consuming. Another team member was quite enthused by the web based office suite writely, but now we are discussing the limitations of office type documents like spread sheets to track project progress.

A colleague in the EDC recommended we use a project management application. Seeing that most of the programme developers have little experience with such applications, and if we do opt to use such a thing, I would rather use a free, open source, or web based tool. That way I won't be learning something that I won't be able to afford access to at home or in another life.

I checked the TALO Tools wikilist and saw BaseCamp and remembered a colleague in another job used this quite a lot. He raved about it in fact. At the time I just couldn't pull myself together for project management software - nothings changed really, but now that I'm working in a project team the need is more pressing.

What is Basecamp?

Basecamp is a unique project collaboration tool. Projects don't fail from a lack of charts, graphs, or reports, they fail from a lack of communication and collaboration. Basecamp makes it simple to communicate and collaborate on projects.

The problem is, as with blogs, wikis, web based office suites, and now project management software, is that they are formats and systems of working that are different to the ways we have grown accustomed to working. For me, office applications are not as good as blogging. For others, blogging is not as useful as spread sheets. Perhaps for all of us, project management software is not as usable as we hope.

But then, we expect the teachers to get their heads around entirely new ways of teaching and learning. Surely we can find a new and effective way to manage projects collaboratively. I'm going to run with my old friend and colleague's recommendation for base camp. Test it out for a bit. If it looks like working for me - I'll put it to the others.

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