You are one of the chosen few – and we chose you for a reason. You have demonstrated an ability to work hard and master complex tasks. But now we are going to push you to the next level. This semester you will be charged with working on teams to make ultra cool things happen. You will be assigned ambiguous tasks. You will be challenged to organize you and your team to develop a plan for accomplishing difficult tasks. And you will need to expend great energy to execute those plans. And if this sounds too daunting, I have three words for you (words that you will read more of below and hear often this semester) DROP THE CLASS!
Before we begin this semester, we need to make sure we have an mutual understanding about the products of our labors. If you can’t “buy-in” to this understanding, DROP THE CLASS. After you read these items, you will be asked to check-off that you agree. And when you do, we will hold you to that agreement. So read and then indicate your agreement.
1. All NMI projects must be approved by the NMI Staff
2. You will be ASSIGNED to a project.
3. All NMI projects are team projects.
4. You can be voted off a team for poor performance.
You come to the NMI to learn, not to work on your own project. The primary purpose of projects in the NMI is to teach you. The presence of an NMI project in your portfolio is a testament to what you have learned. You will have an opportunity to suggest a project for an NMI project. And the NMI staff might decide to select that project. But if you want to exclusively own this pet project, don’t bring it to the NMI. For the reasons outlined below, you cannot exclusively own a project that is completed as part of an NMI class. So bottom line, all projects completed in the NMI are NMI projects – not individual projects. If you can’t live with that, DROP THE CLASS.
You will be ASSIGNED to a project.
The NMI teaches students how to become productive working professionals. Inspiration cannot be a working professional’s primary motivation. It is easy to do great work on projects you care about. But the best NMI students do a great job on projects that don’t care about (or they teach themselves how to care in the process of completing the project). You will be assigned a group to work with. You will have an opportunity to suggest a project you would like to work on. But the NMI faculty are under no obligation to assign you to work on a project you request. We create groups based on a variety of criteria and desire for the project is simply one (and not one with a high priority at that). So if you can only work on projects you want to work on, DROP THE CLASS.
All NMI projects are team projects. Our expectations for NMI projects are beyond your individual ability. It will take a team to make the project happen (and if it doesn’t then you have conceptualized too small an execution). And your team doesn’t just consist of your classmates. Your instructor and even other instructors in the NMI will be available to assist you. You will be expected to work closely with the expansive team assembled in the NMI. But because each project is a team project, no project belongs to a single individual on that team. The NMI projects belong to the NMI. As stated above, all NMI projects have educational value. But if you believe that your project has commercial value and you want to exploit that value, you must work with the NMI to determine how that can happen. It is totally improper, unethical and unprofessional to simply appropriate the work of other NMI people (both students and faculty) without their participation and agreement. If you can’t abide by this stipulation, DROP THE CLASS.
You can be voted off a team for poor performance.
The team to which you are assigned can vote you out of your team should you fail to perform adequately. If you don’t pull your weight, they can vote you off the island. This extreme measure can only be accomplished after extensive consultation with your team. You will be given fair warning of an impending expulsion from the group. But if you can’t get it together, you will be removed from the group and will consequentially relinquish all rights to the grade from the project and any further association with it. If you are kicked off a team, it is incumbent on you to find another team in the class that is willing to accept you. If you think you might run the risk of being voted off a team, DROP THE CLASS.
OK, if you agree to these points, complete the following to indicate your agreement. If you can’t agree, well, I think you know your three word option.
Good luck and let’s kick it this semester.