One of our first OMSCS students knew he was part of a pilot group. He and the professor were very happy with the experience, and the student shared his approach to making it work well:
- Made sure to join the agreed upon mode of communication that was to be used when coordinating during the project timeline and have quick conversations about issues we were having related to the project. Since I was the only remote person I let them pick the application and I just used that – in our case it was “GroupMe” which is some communication application. This made communicating in between our weekly video conference calls very easy as it’s an application that everyone already had and can be used on the phone so responses could be quick.
- Made sure to be responsive when texts were directed specifically to me. And if I couldn’t respond with a complete answer at least just acknowledge that I’d seen it and told them I’d get back to them ASAP. Sometimes couldn’t respond as was at work or out doing errands or just not planning on doing school work at that time etc.
- “Set up” a consistent link to use when we did our weekly student only video calls. I’m sure there is a better way but this worked fine, all I did was set up a Google meets video call one time and then used that same link every time we met. I emailed that link to the rest of the the team members so every timewe met all they had to do was go back to that email thread and click that link.
- I was on time for our weekly student only and including professor meetings. Made sure to be on whatever video call medium before the call actually started in order to minimize any time wasted dealing with technology issues.
- This possibly made things smoother with my team, but for this semester I wasn’t the ‘leader’ or the project manager of the group. There were some decisions I made that steered the project in a certain direction, but I didn’t try to enforce certain design principles that I thought were best practice (from what I’ve seen from my experience etc..) or try to be too controlling as I thought it (1) might have alienated them as being some person they’ve never met in person trying to control the project too much (2) part of VIP is learning, so I didn’t want to bias their learning process by trying to interfere too much.
- Made sure to use version control software, ‘git’ as well as we could. And when committing code, making sure the other teammates knew when working versions were up in our shared repository. Also, when other teammates tried to run application on their machine using my code they pulled from the repository – if they had issues then was responsive and helpful trying to debug it alongside them (but obviously remotely).