For the past month I’ve been taking online classes through the University of Phoenix. So far, everything is great and I’ve just completed my first class with an A. During the tenure of my online class there was a group project that needed to be completed within 5 weeks. The project was due the last week of class and there were 5 of us working on a paper and PowerPoint presentation. Unfortunately, the tools that were provided to us in order to effectively communicate with one another just didn’t cut it. Thankfully, Meebo was readily available to fill the void.
Why Messageboards Don’t Always Work
During the course of the four weeks, we used the school’s messageboard to keep in contact and figure out how we were all going to do our parts for the project. Have you ever had to communicate and research with 5 people on one thread? If you have, you’re aware that this can become confusing very quickly. If you haven’t, imagine if FriendFeed had implemented threaded replies with only the subject instead of the messages inside. That’s a lot of clicking with no bookmarks or tags for specific messages. It’s hard to follow, sucks, and it’s the worst way to communicate within a virtual team.
Don’t Ask Me Why I Didn’t Do This Earlier
When the time came to wrap things up I suggested using Meebo to speed up the process. I couldn’t bare to try to complete the project via the school’s messageboard. None of my classmates had a clue as to what Meebo was. While trying to explain it, I was hit with the thought that I’ve become a tad out of touch with mainstream web users. At first they didn’t understand what Meebo was because I called it a social tool instead of a more mainstream term like group chat. Don’t worry, I realized my mistake soon enough. No one had a problem finding the accessing Meebo, though we did run into a problem or two when searching for the chatroom. However, we weren’t the only ones using Meebo. There were ton of chats starting with “Uop” or “Learning Team”, which made it harder to find our chatroom.
Eventually we got the paper and PowerPoint presentation done and our efforts were rewarded with 100% on both pieces. Still, my classmates thanked me for the introduction to Meebo and promised to use it for any future team projects. It definitely helped us speed things up. Instead of waiting for a reply and constantly refreshing a thread with no indication of whether or not the people you need to talk to are online, Meebo saved our day. I think it would’ve been a lot tougher to finish our project had we not used Meebo. Meebo also allowed us to see links and pass along revisions right from the chatroom. This eliminated the need to keep going back to the the original thread to update things.
All in all, I just want to say thanks to the Meebo team for building such a great product. Meebo is the epitome of one of the best and most effective communication tools that every every online class or school should have.