Looking back on my first semester in EMDD, I find that most of my assignments were completed as group projects. As EMDD students, my cohort learns together, works together, and improves together. The most important thing I have learned from EMDD is cooperation.
This semester, I am working on the Professor Garfield Foundation project with other four team members. The first thing we did before start doing the project was take time to get to know each other. We talked about our skills and how can each member could contribute to the project. After understanding each other’s abilities, we started assigning each member’s main responsibility based on their strengths and what they were interested in concentrating on. Roles included producer, writer, design thinking lead, user experience tester, and graphic designer.
Even though we all have different responsibilities, we all work together and help each other on the project processes, like research, design thinking, and creating testing protocol. During the research stage of the project, I really saw how important team cooperation is. For example, before we all go to gather information by interviewing users, we need to make sure each person conducting the test is using the exact same protocol so that we get consistent data. Gathering a large amount of data is much easier when working on a team. Even if each of us only came up with 5 questions to ask users, then we would end up with 25 questions. Similarly, when we reached out for interviews, if each of us interviewed 5 people, 5 members could collect data from total 25 users.
Even outside of our project teams, EMDD also works together as a big family. Since I am not from Indiana, all the teachers I know from my elementary school to high school are back home in China. Kelsie, a student in EMDD from another project team, helped me contact her teachers at Ball State when I needed support. She helped me organize a field trip to the elementary school she attended so that I could interview teachers for my project.
EMDD is not a big program, but we all know each other. We are people who have different backgrounds with varied skills. When one people faces a problem, there is always another person who knows how to solve the problem. As Megan from my cohort said, “We are friends, we help each other.”