While the COMET templates do the technological work of creating and hosting multimedia websites, most COMET projects will involve a significant amount of preparatory work beyond your work with the templates themselves. In most cases, large numbers of digital media materials (images, videos, audio clips, etc.) need to be collected and organized before they are linked to the templates. Good planning during the early stages of a project will go a long way towards avoiding potential project management issues. Generally, your project should proceed through the following preparatory steps:
Initial Meeting with Faculty Liaison
Primary support for use of the COMET templates is provided by the CLS faculty liaisons, one of whom is assigned to each language program at the University. Your liaison will be your primary resource for project infrastructure, project planning, and technology training, so the first step in any COMET project is to schedule a meeting with your faculty liaison. At this initial meeting, your liaison will help you define your project goals and scope. This will include choosing which COMET template would be best suited for what you want to accomplish. You and your liaison would then outline a process for materials collection and make arrangements for any additional CLS resources that your project will require (e.g. video camera, server storage, FireWire drive space, etc.). Intellectual property concerns will be addressed at this meeting and appropriate data collection and permissions gathering practices will be established. Finally, at this meeting, you and your liaison will select a small, representative portion of your project (e.g. 20 words of a Picture Dictionary, 1 video for VISION project, etc.) to take all the way through the process (a “dry run”) before tackling the project in its entirety.
During this stage of the project, the goal is to try each step of the project process at least once, in order to encounter potential problems before working with significant amounts of data. Materials are collected or produced, converted into appropriate formats, and entered into the template software. Your COMET activity is created and customized according to the project goals. As you progress through the preparatory phase of your project, you may find you need assistance. This would be an ideal time to schedule technology coaching sessions with your CLS faculty liaison. Finally, you should pay close attention to how much time it takes you to complete each step of your “run” in order to estimate the time required to complete the whole project.
Review Dry Run with Faculty Liaison
After you have worked thorough the first small batch of material, you will meet again with your faculty liaison to review the difficulties encountered and to make plans to circumvent these difficulties when tackling the whole project. You will discuss the amount of time your sample occupied and consider whether any adjustments need to be made to the scope of your project. Intellectual property issues may be revisited to make sure that the proper permissions are being secured, records being kept, etc.
Complete the Remainder of the Project
With the process and scope of your project fine-tuned from the review of the dry-run, you will expand your work on the template to include the remainder of your project. From this point, hopefully the process will run smoothly, though, of course, your faculty liaison is always available to offer support.
Instructional Innovation Grant (IIG) Proposals
Each spring term, the CLS awards a limited amount of funds through Yale’s IIG program. Part of that competition is intended to address needed improvements in the delivery of on-line course materials. Familiarity with the COMET templates prior to submitting a proposal is increasingly important as competition for the grants intensifies from year to year. If you are interested in submitting a proposal, your chances of securing an IIG will be vastly improved if you have some first-hand experience using the templates. You should contact your liaison about this in the fall prior to the IIG competition.