As you all may have noticed, the two Age of Exploration classes have begun a new, and final, project. The American Revolutionary War is a topic that anyone can get lost in if they don’t know where to begin or what to research.
When my class was presented with the daunting task of developing a plan, researching the idea, writing a script, and filming a documentary film for an aspect of the Revolutionary War in a little less than six or seven weeks, we knew we had to act fast.
We began by choosing directors, or in our case, co-directors, as well as a “making-of” video team, and who we thought would be leaders for each “section” of the entire project (i.e. researching, storyboard, filming, etc.). As one of the co-directors, I jumped right in trying to facilitate the class to choose a topic and start researching. Long story short, we jumped too hard and too fast in the shallow end of the pool, so we had to get out and then start the process over. After we chose our final topic (the major turning point(s) of the Revolutionary War), and began to research, I asked myself if I was the correct person for the job. Every day I was simply hoping that my directions, thoughts, and ideas were enough to keep the class interested and involved in the project.
The biggest challenge so far in managing the class and our time efficiently has been making sure that everyone is on task during class time. Because I am the organizer and I have made a calendar of due dates for each step in our project, I knew how little time we actually had in order to put our entire documentary together. I was nervous that we would run out of time in the end, especially around editing, so I seemed to check in on everyone a lot. After about a day or so, I realized that this was not effective. I decided to present the class with a due date of when my co-director and I wanted the scripts and research to be finished, and trust that they would get it done in time.
As I continue through this project, I am learning that a good leader does not take control of the entire project and force jobs upon people, but instead guides the class to the correct path and is a resource for direction and support. Leading should be a collaborative process and there should be constant communication between the leader and the class. Being a leader is not a one-way street; both should be able to approach one another with ideas and opinions about how to improve the project.