Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Student Reflection

by Lara Sanoica

These days I’m concentrating on reconnecting with the sixteen Costa Rican organizations that I called over the last two weeks.  The initial rush I got from talking with these groups for the first time has worn off and it’s business as usual.  Those first phone calls were fun, but now I can focus on the needs of each business and get them successfully registered with the website.  After initial introductions and courtesy calls, I’m calling back organizations that are still interested, and getting information to those under new management via email.  I was surprised that I would face the challenge of convincing organizations to join Nuestra Voz.  The first chunk of contacts that I wanted to tackle were supposed to be led by individuals who had already expressed their interest in the project a year ago through preliminary interviews in Costa Rica.  However, a lot can change in a year.  Those who used to be in charge have moved on to other projects (such as the Peace Corps), and I have had to start from square one with their replacements.  I’m not intimidated by the challenge, but I was expecting to remind, not persuade, during these check-in calls.  At least I’ll be more prepared for the the second wave of phone calls in which I will be soliciting organizations who do not know of Nuestra Voz.  We’re trying to get as many interested groups onboard as possible.

Through many of these phone conversations and email inquiries, we’re able to get useful feedback on who is using the site and for what.  For example, one person asked whether or not the purpose of Nuestra Voz was for a publicly searchable directory.  This led to further dialogue on the goals of the site.  Rather than a simple directory, we are looking to create a useable avenue for building professional relationships between these sustainable organizations.

We also discussed the technicalities of search functions and how to implement those functions into readable computer code.  I’m glad that I’m starting to learn some programing languages in other classes so that I can get better at the actual site building.  Even though none of the languages I’m learning now are used in the construction of the Nuestra Voz website, at least I’m practicing the concepts behind site creation.  For now, we have some team members that continue to make sure links open where they need to open and that profile pages are showing up, but we could definitely use help in that department.

With everything always a work in progress, it’s difficult to remember what the overall goal is.  I have to step outside of my tasks for a moment, and then I’ll see the finished product someone else was working on for Nuestra Voz.  Looking at the results of their work, I remember that in the end we are trying to make other peoples’ lives easier.  We are making progress this semester, and collectively, that progress is visible.

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