In this course, the Project assignments for each module will involve experiencing and analyzing different kinds of online project management tools. Project management software is an absolutely essential part of the project manager’s toolkit; even a relatively simple project requires juggling a large quantity of resources and people, and it’s very difficult to manage without automated management tools. While a number of tools such as Microsoft Project and OpenWorkbench are stand-alone applications, an increasingly large number of applications are in fact served over the Internet. This has a lot of advantages, particularly when your project team is widely distributed. So for this course, we’re going to concentrate on internet-based project management applications. If you’re interested in stand-alone programs, check with your instructor; there are lots of possibilities to look at. Even in the Internet domain, there are a lot of possibilities out there; you’ll have a chance to experiment with several programs over the term. All the programs you’re being directed to are supposed to be free; if you run into problems with one, please let your instructor know as soon as possible,<br /> <br /> Each module, you’ll be given a website dealing with program management tools to try out. They are all supposed to operate in an online environment, without requiring you to download anything. They vary considerably; some are extensive and sophisticated, some are fairly lame. But collectively, they will give you a chance to see the range of online software that’s out there.<br /> <br /> Most online demo sites, when you encounter them, will require you to enter a name and an email address by way of registration; if this bothers you, try using a pseudonym and a convenience free email account from Hotmail or Yahoo. All they want is a place to send a password, generally.<br /> <br /> Each module, your SLP assignment will consist of going to a website, trying out a program to the degree that you can, and filling out a report on your “adventures in software,” summarizing what you looked at and offering to the degree possible some critical evaluation of it. You’ll also be invited to reflect on your cumulative software experiences; each module calls for a short summary review of the state of your learning about software up to that point.<br /> <br /> Cautionary note: if you’re computing in an environment where your access to online resources is limited , let us know and we’ll help you work out an alternative. In many cases simply reviewing descriptions of things on the net or watching online demos can provide all the educational experience you need. Talk to your Core Professor about the problem and arrangements can be made.<br /> <br /> It is essential that if you are going to download anything from the Internet, that you have adequate virus protection and anti-adware/spyware screening on your systems.<br /> <br /> For Module 1<br /> <br /> For this module, we’ll start by taking a look at a program called [http://basecamp.com/]. As they say on the site, “Basecamp is a unique project collaboration tool. Projects don’t fail from a lack of charts, graphs, or reports, they fail from a lack of communication and collaboration. Basecamp makes it simple to communicate and collaborate on projects.” It was selected by ZDNet in 2007 as “best of breed” for project management software.<br /> <br /> Your task is to try it out. This may entail signing up and/or opening an account (see the note above regarding privacy protections), or it may just entail playing around with the system a bit. If you need help with any aspect of this, try one of your colleagues or your instructor; the discussion is a good place to ask for help or offer help to others.<br /> <br /> When you believe you have a reasonably good basis for evaluation of the program, you should write up in 3-4 pages your general assessment, attending to the following issues:<br /> •summary description of the program, its structure, and purpose<br /> •its overall “look and feel” and apparent target audience<br /> •what the program does and does not give you<br /> •your assessment of such things as:<br /> •its usability<br /> •its relative advantage<br /> •potential applicability to your work needs<br /> •utility and relevance to this course<br /> •any other things about the program that you find salient and worth noting to others<br /> •your bottom-line evaluation of its value to you<br /> <br /> The last point is very important. Be honest and direct; your assessment is helpful to you and to others. If you don’t find it helpful, say so and why, and try to explain what you would find more useful in its place. But also do try to remember also that your education isn’t yet finished, that things you don’t understand now and don’t yet see the value of may turn out later on to be relevant and useful, and that the site’s creators may know more about the topic, the practice of program management, and the profession than you do yet.<br /> <br /> BTW, this form of program review will be used throughout this course’s project assignments, so get used to it.<br /> <br /> Your assignment will be graded according to the MSITM SLP Grading Rubric, which aligns with the following expectations. (To see the rubric, go to Assessments>Rubrics. Click the arrow next to the rubric name and choose Preview.)<br /> <br /> SLP Assignment Expectations (30 points total)<br /> <br /> Length: Follows the number of pages required in the assignment (excluding cover page and references). Each page should have about 300 words.<br /> <br /> Assignment-driven criteria (14 points): Demonstrates clear understanding of the subject and addresses all key elements of the assignment.<br /> <br /> Critical thinking (6 points): Demonstrates mastery conceptualizing the problem. Shows analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of required material. Conclusions are logically presented.<br /> <br /> Scholarly writing (3 points): Demonstrates proficiency in written communication at the academic level of the course.<br /> <br /> Assignment Organization (3 points): Assignment is well organized and follows the required structure and organization of the assignment.<br /> <br /> Citing and using references (4 points): Uses relevant and credible sources to support assertions; uses in-text citations; properly formats references.<br />
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