One of the core assignments for all IEDP students – the technical proposal — is completed in groups during our first semester in a class titled International Educational Development in Practice: Tools, Techniques, and Ethics. Because this is a group project, it’s quite an undertaking as we navigate multiple schedules and figure out how to divide and conquer the work.

Our groups were assigned in October (thoughtfully, based on the scheduling and work preferences that we indicated in a survey). I ended up in a group of six – and, as luck would have it, my group has been incredibly collaborative and cohesive. Shoutout to Albee, Mengying, Prashansa, Toto, and Zul!

For a detailed overview of the tech proposal process, check out this reflection. We have learned tons of professional skills in this process as the steps include:

  • Writing a clear and concise concept note in response to an RFP (Request for Proposals): At this stage, we presented our project’s objectives and key activities.
  • Writing a detailed technical proposal to elaborate on our concept note: We’re currently in the process of expanding upon our ideas and nailing down the details, including our budget and our monitoring & evaluation plans.
  • A group presentation to our IEDP classmates and faculty

In preparation for our presentation last Friday, my group worked together last week for longer stretches. Here’s a quick inside look at our last preparation meeting and final rehearsal.

Collaborative work time: Wednesday, 3:00 – 6:00 PM

Zul and Albee hard at work on our budget

3:00 PM: We all sign into Zoom. Prashansa, Mengying and I all join virtually while Albee, Toto and Zul have reserved a room at Van Pelt Library. Our first order of business is to finalize the budget for our project – which needs a lot of work.

4:30 PM: With our budget done, we’re ready to review our presentation. We do a run-through…and are 4 minutes over the allotted time. Whoops!

4:45 PM: We tweak our presentation in order to cut down our total time. A few of our slides are pretty text-heavy, so we replace the longer text with visuals so that we aren’t tempted to read lengthy explanations.

5:15 PM: A second run-through – and this time, we’re in much better shape! We chat a bit more about final adjustments to our slides. These conversations are made possible by our extremely collaborative group dynamics: We all get along really well and provide one another with helpful and encouraging feedback. Group dynamics can be tricky, and it’s completely normal to have disagreements and challenges (this is great professional training!) – but I feel like I’ve won the lottery with this team, and we’ve all been consistently on the same page throughout.

6:00 PM: That’s a wrap! We plan to meet after Thursday’s class for a final run-through in person – and in the meantime, will practice our sections individually to make sure we keep within our allotted time.

Final rehearsal: Thursday, 3:45 – 5:00 PM

…And here’s a look at our final run-through!

Mengying, Albee, Prashansa and Toto make some final adjustments to our presentation

After a round of practice, we make a few last-minute adjustments to our slides.

After two more run-throughs, we decide that our best bet is to get some rest and take our minds off the presentation for a bit. We feel as prepared as possible at that point, so we wish each other well and make plans to meet for hot chocolate before our 9:00 AM presentation.

Zul, Maggie, Albee, Prashansa, Mengying and Toto – excited to have completed our presentation!

After we made it through our presentation, I asked my teammates to share their reflections on this process.

Here’s what they said:

Congratulations to all on a round of fantastic presentations!

A celebratory cohort plus our wonderfully supportive professors and TAs!