Making Group Projects Work

Making Group Projects Work
Making Group Projects Work
Working as a group can be hard– there always seems to be someone who just doesn’t quite pull their weight or really contribute to the group. Whether you’re the one who resents the slacker or you’re the slacker yourself, group work can be a bit cumbersome when people have differing ideas about how much work to do, how to do it and who should complete it. Of course, working as a group does come with an upside too, as you get instant feedback and support when working on your project. If you want to make your group work in college a more pleasurable experience there are some things you can do to help things run smoothly.

Start out by deciding who will do what in your group from the get go. That way there will be no questions about responsibilities and what is expected from each member of the group. If you feel like you might be a little more responsible than some of the other members of the group, don’t be afraid to take charge and delegate the work yourself. On the flip side, if you know you’re not good at being a leader, let someone else take the reins.

You’ll also want to make sure that you don’t make anyone in your group feel left out or that their ideas and opinions don’t matter. Try to make your group work a democracy, and take a vote on issues that seem to be points of contention between group members. When people from different backgrounds are working together there are bound to be differences, so just work with them the best that you can.

To avoid someone in the group not doing their share of the work, agree to meet ahead of time to showcase and talk about the part of the project each person did. This will help motivate people to get their work done a little bit ahead of time and let others give feedback before you’re all in class turning in the work.

Of course, sometimes problems do arise. If you do get stuck working with someone who simply didn’t do the work and made the rest of your group look bad, talk to your professor. It might seem mean or backhanded, but there is no reason to take the fall for someone who didn’t have enough respect for the other group members to do their share. See if you can each be graded individually on your contributions rather than as a whole.

Group work does offer a chance to learn from and get to know your classmates but it can also have some big drawbacks when it comes to dividing up and doing the work equally. Planning ahead, taking responsibility and speaking up for yourself can help turn your group work disaster into a manageable situation.

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