The purpose of any higher education is to gain new skills and knowledge and apply them in the real world. Group projects are an essential learning tool, especially in a business school.
It does not matter which master's program you are taking at Alliance Manchester Business School, you will have lots of group projects. In the first semester in my program (MSc Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship), I had group projects in 3 out of 4 of my classes. All the group projects were different: a presentation, a report and a business plan. It was challenging but, at the same time, very exciting to find new ways of cooperation in a remote COVID environment. In this blog, I want to talk about different apps that helped our teams work and collaborate effectively.
During the pandemic, Zoom became an essential tool that connects people. Zoom is great for getting to know each other, ideas discussions and explaining difficult concepts. We use Zoom for all seminars and office hours with the professors, so everyone is familiar with this software. Zoom meetings are becoming much more engaging when all participants turn on their cameras. Turning on your camera during a conversation enables you and others to improve the quality of communication. Without seeing smiles of appreciation and gratitude, the occasional nods of agreement, and headshakes of confusion and misunderstandings, the meetings are becoming boring and limited. For small clarifications and follow-ups, it is better to use some messaging apps such as Facebook Messanger, WhatsApp, Telegram, etc. The main difficulty here is to agree on which messaging app to use. Once it is sorted, you can create a group chat and add all members.
For the High Tech Entrepreneurship class, we needed to create an idea and write a business plan. Our professor introduced the Miro platform to us.
Miro is a digital whiteboard that we used for idea creation, identification of customer segments, building user journeys and service blueprints, and filling the business model canvas elements. This app made visual collaboration and planning fast and effective.
For the Entrepreneurship, Technology and Society class, our assignment was to create and record a presentation. The idea and discussion stage happened in several Zoom meetings. In the end, we faced the challenge of recording our presentation. The professor suggested recording the presentation in Zoom using PowerPoint slides. However, we found it challenging because the presentation was quite long (20 minutes), and we had six people in the group. In the end, we decided to record our presentation directly in the PowerPoint file. We shared the slides in Google drive and recorded our parts individually. It removed the pressure because everyone can have as many attempts as they need without wasting other members' time.
For the Innovation Management class, we needed to write a group report. We used Trello as a visual collaboration tool for that project. Trello helped us to prioritize the research and tasks and organize the essay. The actual writing part was completed in a shared Word document. It was easy to edit each other and not to overlap the ideas.
During the first semester, in addition to learning the materials from the courses, I also learned many useful collaboration tools. This knowledge is very practical and can be used in any workplace or your own business.