Peter J Wilcoxen > MAX 401 Civic Engagement Action Plan Workshop

Weekly Teams Updates

Starting in the fourth week of the semester, you’ll use Microsoft Teams to help keep your project on track and me up to date on what you're doing. We’ll go over the basics of using it in class. Around that time you’ll receive an email with a subject line like "You have been added to a team in Microsoft Teams". The message will contain a link to open Teams if it's already on your computer or to download it if it's not. Teams is covered by SU's Microsoft license and will be free to download and use.

Teams provides several ways to share information and collaborate: it's a bit like Slack, Google Docs, Dropbox and Zoom rolled into one. The main thing we'll use is its "channels" feature. If you've used Slack before, Teams channels work just like Slack channels. If you haven't used Slack, channels are places where people can post messages and reply to others: they're basically like chat conversations but with longer messages and many file postings. In the Teams site for 401 there will be a "General" channel, a private channel for each of you that's only visible to you and me, and possibly other channels as well.


Starting on the date indicated on the main class web page, the weekly Teams assignment is to post at least 3 updates about your project to your private Teams channel by 11:59 pm the Thursday night before class. Be sure to put them in your private channel so I can find them easily and they won't be mixed in with other people's projects.

Ideally, you can post the updates when they happen during the week, and not right at the deadline. Any updates relevant to your project will count. You can post about things you did, such as Zoom calls or emails with partner organizations or outside experts; post about relevant facts you found out by research; or even make a note of articles you read that will be included in your research review.

Updates can also include plans for what you're going to do in the future. For example, "Set up a Zoom call to talk with X about Y". For this kind of update please use specific, granular tasks that have clear actions and definite outcomes rather than broad sweeping plans with no clear endpoint. For example, “Find and read three articles on X” is great; “Research X” is not.

The updates don't have to be long: often a sentence or two will do. They just need to be long enough for me to understand what you're talking about.

What happens to the updates:

I'll look over the updates at different times during the week to see how things are going. I'll also have a look at them on Friday morning before class so I'll know where things stand for everyone prior to our individual meetings. I may add comments or suggestions from time to time, especially about things that come up during our meetings.

About @ mentions:

Normally no one is notified when you post something: it will appear in the channel, and other people with access to the channel will be able to see it if they look, but it won't cause notifications to pop up on my computer or anyone else's. However, if you DO want someone to be notified right away, mention them by typing an @ followed by their name. For example, if you ever need me to respond to something quickly, please feel free to mention me. By the same token, if something comes up that I want to let you know about quickly I may mention you.

How this will be graded:

It's basically entirely on effort: you'll get 1% toward your total participation score of 10% for each week when there are at least 3 updates in your channel.

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Peter J Wilcoxen, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 09/10/2020