What Teams Must Consider When Setting On-Line Collaborative Norms
Norms are ways of working together that help on-line collaborative teams develop a working relationship to enhance team productivity over a brief time period (15weeks) when the team function/works.
Collaborative norms fall into two categories: procedural and interpersonal.
Logistics: Meeting time, Place, Duration, and Frequency.
- "We established chat times for each week during Monday's class"
Timeliness: Start time, Finish time, Lateness, and Attendance.
- “Members will post to webboard when they are going to be late and/or absent”
Courtesy: Listening, Interruptions, Equal participation, Dealing with disagreements,
Respect, Empathy, and Sharing the workload
- “Each member of the team will state their opinion during group discussions or disagreements so every voice is heard”
Decision-Making Process: How will team make decision (s)? Reach agreements? How
will team show/reach agreement?
- "The team will take everyone's opinion into account before important group decisions are made. The norm is majority rules”
Assignment Completion: How will work be assigned? How will conflicts with existing
workloads be settled?
- “When the team works on documents, we will use each member’s initials to let team members know who was the last person to edit”
Setting Priorities: How will team discharge responsibility for on-time completion
equal distribution of workload?
- "The team will post a list of 'weekly goals' to keep us focused on what needs to be done"
Enforcement of Norms: How will the team make sure (implement) that norms are followed?
- "The team agrees of a system of consequences for members who break group norms"
Hints / Advice / Indirect Suggestions for Creative and Successful Collaborative Teams
- Teams work with commitment/devotion when the team generates their ‘own’ norms.
- Posting of norms during every on-line, in-class, or VC meeting/chat.
- Add new norms as the team develops and new situations arise.
- Norms will change and evolve as the team develops and matures – never hesitate to change a norm - it is part of team evolution/growth.