Admit it: When you look at the syllabus on the first day of class and see the words “group project,” you consider dropping it. For an exercise that’s supposed to teach us valuable life lessons about teamwork, time management and unity, all they seem to enforce is “trust no one.”
Group projects can be arguably just as stressful as writing papers, but guess what – they don’t have to be. Follow Valley’s Do’s and Don’ts of working on group projects to make sure that you get an A without pulling out your hair!
DO get your partners’ contact info.
This one should be simple, but in the midst of trying to form a group, sometimes it can be forgotten. Cell numbers and email addresses should be exchanged the day your group is made. Group texts are a Godsend for these projects, but if one of your partner’s doesn’t have a smartphone, Facebook messages work just as well.
DON’T ignore contact attempts.
It’s easy to close a text and forget to read it later, so during the time period you have a group project remind yourself to check over everything. You should be looking at your texts, emails and FB messages as often as possible. Also, don’t get annoyed if your partners keep trying to contact you – they’re only trying for an “A” just like you are.
DO be mindful of your partners’ time.
Remember that they’re just as busy as you are, so if there’s time when you all can meet, take advantage of it. Don’t give excuses – the last thing you want is for your group to stop trusting you.
DO evenly divide up the work.
Group projects are for groups for a reason: It’s a lot of work with probably more than one component to it. Have everybody play up his or her strengths while still evenly dividing research. For example, if your project is on art in the Renaissance in comparison to today’s art, have some people research different countries during the Renaissance while some of you look at modern art across the globe. When it comes time for the presentation, if you can make a killer PowerPoint while your partner got an “A” in CAS100, do the slideshow while she writes the speech. And on that note…
Everybody should be putting in the same amount of time and effort. Remember, you’re all expecting to only have to do your portion of the work. Don’t be the reason for a less-than-perfect grade. And most importantly…
DON’T be afraid to speak up.
If you have the class slacker in your group, make sure you enforce the part that they need to play. Chances are that if one person speaks up, everybody else will stay on top of the slacker, too. But speaking up doesn’t have to be only for negatives. Share your ideas and compromise with your partners. Keep in mind that two, three or four heads are better than one.
Photo by Siru Wen