You may wonder why professors torture you with group work but it is beneficial. Group work enables students to have practice on real-world skills that would be useful after graduation.
Working with group members can be challenging, especially if you have conflicting personalities, interests and schedules. Here is a guide to get the most out of group work.
- Use each other’s strengths and set roles.
Delegate tasks and rationalize the work based on each member’s strengths. One to research, write, present, edit, organize or be the group leader. This will help in keeping the workload evenly and not having one person do all the work.
2. Schedule and organize well.
Know each other’s class schedule and free time. Set dates and time to meet in and out of the campus that works for everyone. Prepare for the session so you can make the most of your time together by carrying all the needed items including laptop, calculator, and any other things needed. Create an agenda for each meeting, stick to the session topic and avoid straying off the topic. Also, keep mini-deadlines, allow time for possible drawbacks and practice for a group presentation on actual due date.
3. Work with people you know.
They don’t have to be necessarily your friends as sometimes working with friends can create clashes in your friendship than just in the class. But if you’re allowed to choose your group mates, work with people you have worked before or whose work ethics you know is reliable. Make sure to get their contact information and class/work/extra circular activity schedules.
- Be understanding, flexible and respectful of each other.
Keep an open mind when listening to each other’s ideas and opinion, it’s always good to compromise. Remember to not take things personally, establish and keep in mind your shared goal on doing the project well.
Do your part and don’t just nod in approval for everything, let your ideas be heard. Also, don’t flake out. If you’re falling behind, let them know to avoid risking everyone’s grades because of your shortcomings.
6. Respond to conflicts.
Discuss how conflicts should be resolved when it arise. Don’t be a doormat and hesitate to say ‘no’. Consider your own workload; that’s what delegating the tasks is for, knowing what each is in charge of.
7. Take advantage of technology.
Apps and platforms allow group work to be easier now. Use Dropbox for sharing files, Evernote for sharing web clips for researching, Google Docs for live collaborative Document editing and Skype for video conferencing.
- Have fun.
Stay positive for the group. Use this opportunity to meet new people and get to know each other. Meet for lunch or dinner to go over initial plans and schedules. Remember it’s still college, have fun.