Group Blogs and Problem Statements

Once you have your group blog setup spend some time configuring the Appearance, adding users (your group members and instructor) and making the blog become your organization’s website to the world.

Configuration Checklist

Update 1.24.12: One of you (since you’re all admins) needs to go into Dashboard –> Settings -> Discussion and uncheck the box for “An administrator must approve the comment option as well as any other options as you like in the Discussion Settings. Thanks Sarah for the question!

Change Your Site Title Dashboard -> Settings -> General: This is the name of your organization. Something catchy. It can change if you like over the course of this semester.

Change Your Tagline Dashboard -> Settings -> General: Group Number STEM 110T Section Number (example: Group 4 STEM 110T 33598)

Change Your Timezone Dashboard -> Settings -> General: UTC-5 or New York

Invite Group Members as Administrators Dashboard -> Users -> Invite New: add each member’s ODU email address (select Administrator from dropdown menu). Google Docs spreadsheet with group member listings.

Invite Instructor as a Follower Dashboard -> Users -> Invite New: (select Follower from dropdown menu)

Add Authors Widget Appearance -> Widgets -> Drag Authors widget to sidebar

Configure Pages: Setup an About Page (you may already have one by default) with brief information as follows:

  • About Our Organization (why we chose our name, who each of our members are (with pictures?) and how we plan to change the world.

Posting Your Checkpoints

Refer to the Course Schedule for the checkpoints highlighted in green. These are the postings that must be published by the due date (at 11:55pm). These checkpoints are not graded, but do weigh into your overall group grade.

You can have as many posts and comments as you like while you’re brainstorming and sharing ideas. In fact, the more I — and others — see your process, the better. And, it doesn’t matter who publishes the “official” checkpoint post; e.g., one person can begin a post and others can later edit it (but not simultaneously). Other venues if you want to do simultaneous brainstorming include Skype, Google Docs (create a new one and share via emails), Facebook Groups, etc.

Group Problem Statement (Developed in Class) 01.25.12 W

This is the first checkpoint you must publish to your group blog. It must include the following:

  • A single, declarative statement (one sentence) of the problem that your group wants to address
  • A brief description of the problem area – why is it a problem? How did your group come to see this as a problem worth solving? In which of the three ways will you make meaning (see video) with this problem?
  • Any links, videos, images, etc. (how to embed media) or links (how to create a hyperlink) that inspired you to consider this as a problem to address?

DO NOT jump to suggesting solutions just yet. It’s important to first define the problem and make sure it’s an actual problem. You also want to keep in mind the technology angle? That is, how does technology fit into your conception of the problem area? However, do not include this yet in your post.

How do you come up with a good problem statement?

What bothers you? How could the world be a better place? How could ODU be a better place? One place to start is by checking out this article, Innovation Starts With Defining the Problem. While its focus is more business-oriented, the concept is the same. Also see what other people are doing with tackling problems they see in the world. You can check out any of the News Sources links on the right for Wired, Fast Company, etc. Or check out the TED conference videos for inspiration. Or see the X-Prize Foundation post from earlier. Or read Y Combinator’s blog on the latest start-ups.

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