Rhizomatic on group roles and functions

EdamWrite a blog post on social aspects of mooc.
In Wikipedia is a nice short description of Belbins group roles:

Plant: A creative, imaginative, unorthodox team-member who solves difficult problems. Although they sometimes situate themselves far from the other team members, they always come back to present their brilliant idea.
Resource Investigator: The “Resource Investigator” is the networker for the group. Whatever the team needs, the Resource Investigator is likely to have someone in their address book who can either provide it or know someone else who can provide it. Being highly driven to make connections with people, Explores opportunities, make contacts, shares external information
The “Chairman/Co-ordinator” ensures that all members of the team are able to contribute to discussions and decisions of the team. Their concern is for fairness and equity among team members. Clarifies goals; helps allocate roles, responsibilities, and duties; articulates group conclusions
Shaper: A dynamic team-member who loves a challenge and thrives on pressure. . Seeks patterns in group work; pushes group toward agreement and decisions; challenges others
Monitor-Evaluator: A sober, strategic and discerning member, who tries to see all options and judge accurately. This member contributes a measured and dispassionate analysis and, through objectivity, stops the team committing itself to a misguided task. Analyzes problems and complex issues; monitors progress and prevents mistakes; assesses the contributions of others; sees all options; judges accurately
The “Team Worker” is concerned to ensure that interpersonal relationships within the team are maintained. They are sensitive to atmospheres and may be the first to approach another team member who feels slighted, excluded or otherwise attacked but has not expressed their discomfort. Gives personal support and help to others; socially oriented and sensitive to others;
The “Implementer” is the practical thinker who can create systems and processes that will produce what the team wants. Taking a problem and working out how it can be practically addressed is their strength.
The “Completer Finisher” is the detail person within the team. They have a great eye for spotting flaws and gaps and for knowing exactly where the team is in relation to its schedule.
Specialistwho brings ‘specialist’ knowledge to the team. Single-minded, self-starting, dedicated; provides unique or rare expertise and skills.
More and different group roles do exist.
Group roles are not an analytical instrument, but a management or training aid.
More than one group (team) roles can be found in one human.
We could label some roles as task-roles, some are process-roles, some are people-roles, etc.
In a healthy group most roles are present.

The participants of a mooc are they a group? or just a loose sample of individuals?
Is it possible to recognize group roles in a mooc, when a mooc is not a group? If the participants of a mooc are (part of) rhizome, group roles are life functions of the rhizome?

Does a healty cMOOC need ‘group roles’?

Social psychology predicts some phases in the development of a group. (for short overview: Wikipedia)

I just wish we did not throw around the ‘community’ label so freely. Community takes work and commitment to having tough conversations. The process of naming something does not make it so. Online groups can be seen as a culture and there are different dimensions in which cultures differ:http://geert-hofstede.com/national-culture.html   ()

I did a blog on teacher roles in a mooc with a different list of qualities in participants in a mooc.
Image: Edam bridge.

14 thoughts on “Rhizomatic on group roles and functions

  1. Interesting blog on group roles. I wonder how you could think about this in terms of PBL groups. It is nearly impossible to have a group large enough to fulfill these roles, so it may be possible that one group member is capable of multiple roles. An effective teacher often has to navigate all of these roles!

  2. Hey Jaap… Loved this post as i said on fb. You ask near the end if a healthy MOOC needs group roles and i was thinking they emerge naturally, but that if some roles don’t emerge naturally, someone maybe needs to step in and do something? What happens when the team worker exists but for a few days misses out on an important conflict and does not step in, for example? As you mention, ppl canhave multiple roles and you are one such person on #rhizo14

  3. Hi Maha because the scale, maybe anybody should try to fulfill all of these roles? In a mooc participants even are teachers, so they could if they want do some class management. But a mooc not being a class, this only is a metaphor….

  4. Really interesting, Jaap, and definitely something to look at in more detail. I think also that one person could perform many roles, also different roles at different times.

  5. After reading the critisism in the Wiki lemma you’re referring to, I’d say, NO these roles are not roles for a MOOC.

    The experiment Belbin used, “make money” with a selected group of people “high flyers in commercial firms” does not represent the people nor the circumstances a MOOC has.

    I think we need another model to describe MOOC-roles.

  6. i think these team-roles are just a start in thinking on social aspects of a mooc.
    Volgens mij klopt dat wel, maar je moet ergens beginnen. En sommige deelnemers zijn nogal eenzijdig op de inhoud gericht en weinig op sociale aspecten.

  7. I’d love to actually develop a list of MOOC roles but always feel any such list would be missing something or over-categorizing a person… reminds me of a quote by Yalom… will post that on fb for all to see

  8. This is my favourite post because I think we should use former concepts and frames and you did so. Social psychology has enormous amount of concepts which could be useful also when speaking about moocs. Why open courses were different from others. Similar people everywhere?
    A healthy community is a dream and I think we have possibilities to discuss in healthy ways during rhizo14. So let’s continue

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