Hands-on Project on Digital Society: ‘New energy to positive thinking, modeling, and creation of new solutions’

Snezana Sando (Serbia), Onur Günlü (Turkey) and Rubén García (Peru) won the second virtual hands-on project organized by the Alumniportal Deutschland. Not only did their team “Digitizer” convince the jury with their profound research and creative solutions, they also gathered an outstanding amount of community votes. The Alumniportal interviewed the three of them to learn about their backgrounds and experiences during the project.  

Your team won the hands-on project, what were your first reactions?

Snezana: I followed the online prize ceremony and when I saw our logo I was so happy that I had to share my feelings with all community members available in the chat at that time.

Rubén: I was attending the webinar as well and it was really exciting to hear the results of the contest. Actually, I recorded that moment on audio because I had very much anticipated the final decision the days before. It was a really valuable moment for me that I will treasure as a very important experience.

Onur: Since I had a meeting during the webinar, I learned the news from Snezana’s email. At first, I did not frankly understand what I had achieved, but when I saw people’s reactions to our success I was as happy as Snezana!

What do you do in real life?

Snezana:  I am a Ph.D. student at the Faculty of Technical Science, Industrial engineering and management/ investment management in Novi Sad, Serbia. My main research is concerned with the development of models to quantify the impact of behavioral factors in engineering decision- making. I also have experiences with the creation of digital platforms for small enterprises.

Onur: Being a Ph.D. candidate as well, I work at the Institute for Communications Engineering at TU München. My main research is on information theoretical secrecy in different cryptographic systems.

Rubén: I have a bachelor’s degree in system engineering and am planning to do my master’s in business information technology at Saarbrücken University. At the moment I am working as a freelancer programming web pages and participating in various web projects.

How did you set up your team?

Snezana: I started by writing a post in the Alumniportal community presenting my interests and the subjects I could be working on, and then Onur contacted me. Later on, Rubén sent me his CV and we set up our team called Digitizer.

Rubén: I read a lot of posts on the Alumniportal of people looking for team mates. I noted that Snezana had the same interests as me, for that reason I got in touch with her. By then, she had already teamed up with Onur and they accepted me as a third group member. Onur: First time I checked out the project details, I thought “Digital Media” is something I know really well, even the technical details. Thus, I started looking for somebody with an educational background in digital platforms used by enterprises. Snezana was a perfect match and we started this way.

How did you organize your work?

Onur: I was the coordinator in terms of the methodology and information required. I would represent the group when contacting the Alumniportal team, organize the documents, share information with my team members, and edit the online group. In short, my main activities were to coordinate, moderate, co-research, edit, and adjust the contents.

Snezana: My main role was being the team’s time-keeper, so that our group would meet the deadlines. My input was required to propose time-efficient solutions to the given tasks. I was a co-researcher for the second task and I worked on the resources and content of the Mind Map as well as on the documentation.

Rubén: I was responsible for research and suggestions about new topics for our branch of study. Moreover, I was in charge of realizing technical tasks like creating a logo, the graphics and the Mind Map. Furthermore, I redefined the content of the Mind Map and the text for the video which included a menu and subtitles to ensure that our work was available to everybody in the community.

What was the most difficult thing to do?

Snezana: The greatest challenge was finding a way out of our endless discussions about non-satisfactory parts of the project.

Onur: I totally agree with Snezana!

Rubén:  For me, the greatest challenge was to find time to meet altogether. And I was really critical about the contents that we were using in our work, since I wanted to do the best.

What did you learn about working together?

Snezana: All team members have to be very committed during the project phase. I learned about big will and motivation from Rubén. Onur has a really efficient way to work.

Rubén: I have learned the impressive methodology of Onur. I also think it was very important to have Snezana as a timekeeper. Furthermore, through interaction with my team mates, I improved my English a lot, and learned how to work with a digital platform.

Onur: I had the chance to experience that team work includes both good feelings when everything is going fine as well as temporary clashes. The latter, however, may motivate team members in the long run.

What was particularly fascinating about the project?

Snezana: Team work is always a challenge for me and it gives me new energy to positive thinking, modeling, and creation of new solutions for more efficient use of data in practice.

Rubén: I love the Alumniportal Deutschland and particularly the “Praxisprojekt” which gathers great talented people with a high incentive year after year to participate in this contest. I saw a great number of professionals with various backgrounds, and all of them had a high motivation to grow both on a professional and on a personal level.

Onur: Honestly, sometimes we were so busy that I even forgot why I was participating in this project but I was still continuing doing my part. This is actually a sign of having fun! I also appreciated the good atmosphere the project organizers created with their answers, motivating emails and help.

Interview: Viola Erlenmaier and Eva Bergold

Read more about the project and browse the participants' results in our article “18 Teams – 41 participants – 26 countries: The virtual hands-on project on digital society”!


July 2014

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