As classes within a major get more specialized, it is likely that many students will be forced to work under pressure, within a group of unfamiliar classmates. When working on a group assignment, it is critical that every member presents collaboration and a solid effort.
Understanding exactly what you are supposed to be doing and setting goals should be a main part of a group’s first meeting. If specific goals are set, everyone will be on the same page regarding what they need to accomplish by the due date. These goals should not, however, be set in stone. It is always good to leave a little wiggle room. Someone might discover a new idea that trumps the previous plan and could change the entire project. Each person can have their own individual goal on what they would like to accomplish by the end or it can be a team goal. Everyone is striving for a good grade but the topic may involve a potential career or interest for a specific member.
Having individual roles within the group will make the team run more smoothly. A person known for being incredibly organized or encouraging should be dubbed the team leader. He or she should be in charge of setting reasonable and equal tasks for each member. These tasks should represent the strengths of each member and deciding roles will make this process much easier. If one person is more familiar with computers, then perhaps they should be in charge of a power-point presentation or any necessary graphs. The best writer in the group should gather data or information to produce a smoothly flowing article or paper. If roles are established, there won’t be an issue of the workload being uneven. Each person will be charged with a specific aspect that others may not be able to do quite as successfully.
Having due dates set within the group will hold everyone accountable for their part of the project. It will also lessen the chance of procrastination. There is nothing more stressful then not having a project completed the night before it’s due because of one individual. These minor due dates will insure that every person is getting bits, if not all, of their work done in a timely manner. It will also make it easier to collaborate information or make changes. If there is one person who is in charge of writing a paper, he or she will need more than just a few hours to present a solid piece of work. By sticking to these due dates, the “writer” can gradually work on their part throughout the allotted time.
When all the research has been presented and the paper completed, it is very important that every member attentively reads through it. A lot of the time, students will only really understand what they wrote or researched. By fully understanding every aspect, it can help out for later on in the class. Students may find that a topic on an exam or in a paper is something they touched upon. In oral presentations, most professors ask detailed questions when it is completed. They aren’t likely to only ask a student a question on their section of the project. It is pretty obvious that the group didn’t read through the whole thing when only one member can answer the questions.
Group projects can be fun or stressful if roles and tasks are properly assigned. It is important that students face it with a detail oriented and positive mindset.