Assignments

You must complete eight assignments for this course, as listed here in chronological order and described in detail below. 

 

  1. Reflected Best Self Portrait
  2. E-portfolio
  3. Learning Journal
  4. Project Plan
  5. Negotiation Report
  6. Individual Budget Presentation
  7. Group “How-To” Presentation
  8. Your Evaluation of Your Performance in Your Group

 

**All written assignments are due in class at the beginning of class, printed in hard copy, double-sided, no cover page. Email copies in lieu of hard copies will incur a 5% penalty. Late work, by contrast, can and must be submitted by email.**

Reflected Best Self Portrait
This exercise is designed to help you recognize your strengths by soliciting opinions from the people who know you best. It requires that you ask 15-20 people for input, which you then analyze and summarize in an essay (minimum 300 words), so you need to get started right away. The instructions are included in material put together by professors at the University of Michigan. You should visit the link below to purchase the material online. Be careful: Make sure you order the EXERCISE (129 KB), not the booklet (618 KB) – both are $6. Use no cover sheet and indicate word count.

https://www.bus.umich.edu/Positive/POS-Teaching-and-Learning/ReflectedBestSelfExercise.htm

E-portfolio
An e-portfolio is a website that you create that displays your professional interests, aims, and pursuits. The purpose of an e-portfolio is to help you prepare for your ideal professional job upon graduation and help future employers understand who you are and what you want. Your e-portfolio will give you a head start on articulating your management skills and career goals through the creation of a space to project your professional self by sharing your aspirations, resume, education, and samples of work (projects, papers, websites, and so forth).

Your e-Portfolio must include the following items at a minimum:

  • Statement of Intent. In 400 words or less, list and explain your career and professional goals. Discuss how your UT education (e.g., specific courses), your undergraduate degree, your volunteer efforts, prior employment, and/or similar events and experiences reflect and helped shape your professional interests and how they will aid you in achieving your goals. Think of the intended audience as a recruiter, hiring manager, or potential employer.
  • Links to samples of your papers and project work at the iSchool. Include brief descriptions of each one (a couple sentences should be fine) so that the viewer understands what the artifact is as well as what meaning it has for you or what skills it demonstrates. You must include at least three samples of prior work.
  • ONE PAGE résumé. (See guides at iSchool Career Services.)

 

Post your e-Portfolio on the Web using your iSchool account. For additional information on creating your own web pages, see the iSchool web development tutorials or talk to the purple shirts in the lab. Do NOT wait until the last minute to ask for their help.

Submit your e-portfolio for grading by posting its URL to the Blackboard discussion forum for this course that bears the name “e-portfolios”.

I will evaluate your e-portfolio against these criteria:

  • Establishes your unique strengths, talents and interests.
    • Does your first page clearly and prominently establish who are you professionally (e.g., future librarian, iSchool student, web designer seeking advanced degree)? Does your statement of intent make clear your aspirations? Does it show how you came to develop these aspirations? Does it set you apart in some positive way?
  • Clearly and professionally communicates your goals, experiences, and work samples.
    • Have you included clear descriptions of each sample so we know why that project or paper is important to you or what skills it reflects? Does your résumé adequately summarize the experiences you have gained and roles you have occupied?
  • Reflects graduate-level writing, with excellent proof-reading, attention to detail, and care for readers’ impressions through the absence of spelling and grammar mistakes.
    • Did you proofread your content, edit your text, think about good writing style, and take your audience into consideration?
  • Demonstrates sufficient technical skill through the display and proper functioning of all elements of your e-portfolio site.
    • Can I access the site? Do all the links work? Can I move easily from one page to another? Does it look like something one might reasonably expect from an iSchool student?

 

Learning Journal
A learning journal is a journal that you keep (digitally or in a notebook) in which you record what insights you have gained through experiences in this course. Keeping a learning journal helps you to be more reflective of what you are learning, what value this learning has for you, and what more you want to or should learn. You should write in your learning journal at least once a week. At a minimum, you must record your impressions of what you learned in class (through discussions, exercises, and lectures) and what you read. A learning journal is a place to record questions that come to your mind, interesting ideas from classmates, thoughts on how this course material relates to other courses or to other knowledge you have, thoughts sparked by class discussion that may not be fully formed yet, lists of topics you want to pursue in greater depth later, ideas for ways to gain or practice skills, topics you particularly like or dislike, worries that you have about yourself as a manager, and so forth. Do not use the journal as your notebook for taking class notes; its intent is for recording personal reflection, not universal knowledge.

As an example of what I expect to see in your journal, you might, when reflecting on the material about personality types and differences, ponder in your journal these questions: Which letters are clearly on target for you, which ones are borderline? We wish to view differences as positive, not negative. Bearing that advice in mind, and after reading about types other than your own, what do you now recognize about some of your interactions with other individuals in your life? What strategies do you think you might now employ in your dealings with various others to achieve better interpersonal relations and other outcomes? Overall, what insights have you gained from this material on individual personality tendencies and differences?

Although journal length will vary from student to student, you should, in general, write at least 300 words per week in your learning journal, and often more. The journal is due mid-semester, but I strongly recommend that you continue it throughout the remainder of the course.

When you turn in your learning journal, you must also write up separately (not interspersed in your journal) answers to the following questions and hand in your answers with your journal. Your journal should contain evidence that your responses to these questions are based at least in part upon journal entries.

Questions for Learning Journal

  • What is at least one key idea I learned in each of weeks 2-5? (List by week and topic.)
  • In what areas of management covered so far are my own skills not that strong? (I would expect at least two items here, if not more.)
  • What are my strategies for improving my skills in these areas over the next year?

Project Plan
I will give the class a project planning homework assignment in class that you will complete individually. We will go over the instructions and requirements in class.

Negotiation Report
You must enter into a negotiation with someone to persuade that person to do something you think is impossible to convince him or her to do. Your chosen negotiation topic must be approved by a peer or peers in a class exercise (see class schedule). Choose a topic that has meaning for you so that you are invested in doing well. If you are fearful or uncomfortable, you might want to choose a topic involving someone you do not know as a way of easing yourself into negotiation.

Afterward, write up your attempt in report (minimum 500 words). In the report, note with whom you negotiated (by role or position, not name) and what you tried to persuade that person to do. Describe your preparation process and your information exchange upon first talking with your negotiating partner. Detail how the bargaining played out. Include any closure and commitment efforts that you or your partner made. State the outcome of your negotiation and reflect on the process, including your own performance and how you felt. Success is great; reflective understanding is even better. Use no cover sheet and indicate word count.

 


Individual Budget Presentation
Begin by identifying a library, museum, archives, web services firm, records management company, or other information organization whose budget for a recent past year you find on the web or acquire legitimately through personal contacts. Your assignment is to prepare a proposed line-item budget for the coming year for this organization that, despite the current economic downturn, features a 10% increase from the budget you found. In class, you will give a short presentation (3-5 minutes, depending on class size), with visual aids as appropriate. (At a minimum, you must present a slide with your proposed budget; we will discuss other effective slides in class. You may employ a single-page, double-sided handout if you so desire.) You are to assume that the class audience is the governing body (e.g., a city council, a senior management group) that will determine at what level your organization should be funded. Bear in mind that funding decisions are political and that funds given to one organization typically come at the expense of another; your objective is to win the support of your audience. I will grade your verbal individual presentation by the criteria listed on the evaluation sheet at the end of this syllabus.

Group “How-To” Presentation
In small groups, you will research one of the “how-to” topics below, assigned by me based on your group preferences.


  • Write a Job Description
  • Interview a Potential Hire
  • Develop Your People
  • Conduct a Performance Review
  • Fire an Employee
  • Delegate Work to Your Reports
  • Manage Volunteers
  • Manage Across Generations
  • Run Effective Meetings
  • Handle Harassment Claims
  • Manage a Geographically Distributed Team
  • Manage Your Time
  • Solicit and Evaluate Vendor Bids
  • Write a Successful Grant Proposal
  • Run a Fundraising Campaign
  • Build Relationships with Donors

 

Your group will give a 20-minute “how-to” presentation to the class. Your group is to act as a management team giving a talk in your organization’s monthly lunch meeting attended by all managers and supervisors (your classmates). Your objective is to educate the managers and supervisors, help them begin to develop skills in the topic area, and help them retain what they learn in your presentation. A 5-minute question-and-answer period that you will moderate will follow your presentation.

You must complete the following tasks at a minimum: (1) research the topic thoroughly, including the best academic and practitioner material you can find, (2) evaluate (prune) the material to determine what you want to cover, (3) develop an effective verbal presentation (4) practice your presentation as a group, (5) deliver your presentation to the class. Although you certainly may and should divide up the work, everyone in your group must participate meaningfully in each of these tasks; your group should work hard to smoothly integrate all contributions.

You are limited to one handout, which may be double-sided. Employ a layout that will facilitate retention and later reference, not one that will cram in additional, uncovered material.

You may use whatever presentation technologies you wish, with the caveat that you should practice their use prior to the presentation day to ensure they work smoothly. You are encouraged to be creative, for example by using a skit, making a movie, developing a quick exercise, role playing, and the like. Just remember that your creativity, like every other aspect of your presentation, should be aimed at the objective as described here.

You will be evaluated on this project according to how well your team presented this material and helped the class to learn it (as evaluated by the class and me). I have included an evaluation sheet at the end of the syllabus so that you fully understand the relevant metrics.

Your Evaluation of Your Performance in Your Group
Write an essay (minimum 500 words) describing your performance in your group. Use no cover sheet and indicate word count. Note, I am not asking for a summary of how your group performed nor do I want an accounting of which tasks you did and which others did. Rather, I am looking for in-depth reflection about your performance as a group member: I want to know about the group’s dynamics and your role in them.

For example, if you had a personality conflict with someone that led to problems in your presentation, summarize what happened and why you think it did. Where did you fall down in dealing with this person? I don’t want to read about someone else’s inadequacies; I want to read about the challenges this person posed for you and how you successfully or unsuccessfully dealt with those challenges. What might you try differently next time? What do you need to think about in terms of your own behavior and performance in groups going forward?

If everything went really smoothly, why was that? Think about your group’s interpersonal interactions, personality types, project planning, use of time, strategies, skills, and so on. Do not assume in this positive case that you simply were a great group member with great colleagues; instead, think about what went well so that you can be on the lookout in future groups for ways to establish similar conditions.

Statements like, “I learned that not everyone works as hard or as fast as I do so I am going to have to take on more of the work,” reflect a lot less self-discovery than statements like, “I recognized – too late – that people have different ideas of what a comfortable timeline is and that I get really anxious and angry when I think work is late. I need to learn how to communicate my worries so that I don’t end up being irritable with and resentful towards my teammates.” In short, focus on improving the situation not by expecting others to change or by you taking on a disproportionate share of the workload, but by communicating openly with your team to develop work routines and project timelines that work for everyone.

 

Individual Budget Presentation Evaluation

Presenter ___________________________________________________________

 

I will provide a score based on the criteria below according to the following scale:

10        Absolutely, Well Done, Perfect!
9.5       Excellent, Just Needs a Little Tweaking
9          Very Much So, But One or Two Non-Critical Issues
8.5       More or Less So, But a Couple Key Weaknesses
8          Not Exactly, Multiple Problems
7.5       Absolutely Not, Far Below Expectations

 

Delivery, Visual Aids, and Engagement                                                       

  • Was the verbal delivery good in terms of pace, volume, intonation and the like?
  • Was the nonverbal delivery good in terms of confidence, gestures, movement, use of space, eye contact, and the like?
  • Were the visual aids helpful, supportive, clear and easily understood?
  • Did the presenter engage the audience’s attention?

 

 

 
Score (max 10) ______


Group “How-To” Presentation Evaluation

Group Topic ___________________________________________________________

Evaluated By___________________________________________________________

Provide a score for each area below according to the following scale:

10        Absolutely, Well Done, Perfect!
9.5       Excellent, Just Needs a Little Tweaking
9          Very Much So, But One or Two Non-Critical Issues
8.5       More or Less So, But a Couple Key Weaknesses
8          Not Exactly, Multiple Problems
7.5       Absolutely Not, Far Below Expectations

 

Delivery, Visual Aids, and Engagement                                                        Score  ______

  • Was the verbal delivery good in terms of pace, volume, intonation and the like?
  • Was the nonverbal delivery good in terms of confidence, gestures, movement, use of space, eye contact, and the like?
  • Were the visual aids helpful, supportive, clear and easily understood?
  • Did the presenters engage the audience’s attention?

 

Content, Organization, and Goal Achievement                                            Score  ______

  • Was the content appropriate and sufficient?
  • Was the material organized coherently, with clear relationship between ideas, sound segues between sections, and strong introduction and conclusion?
  • Did the presentation meet its intended objective to educate managers and supervisors and to help them begin skill development in the topic area? 

 

 

 

 
Total Score (max 20) ______