April 17, 2018
Many students who read this sentence might groan. Most of us who have had to work in a group before know the struggle of coordinating schedules, a project’s workload and even our skillsets.
Group work can be hard to manage, especially on a campus where 80 percent of the students are commuters who juggle outside responsibilities like full-time jobs and families.
Individual projects benefit students more than assigned group work because students who do not know how to compromise or properly communicate contribute to a negative experience for their peers in a group project setting.
Students may struggle with decision-making in a group setting due to varying attitudes regarding collaborative work in the classroom, according to the Center for Innovation of Research and Teaching at Grand Canyon University.
Students who refuse to compromise for the needs of the project scope and their group members make the purpose of working in a group project difficult for everyone involved.
From my personal experience, I have been in groups who may not let me participate, or in some instances, I end up completing all of the work.
For example, last week, my group agreed to meet at a specific time. Although the rough draft of our project was completed, only half the team showed up, which made it more difficult to flush out the details of the final draft.
Group projects offer students the opportunity to gain skills that are relative to team and individual work. These skills may include, but are not limited to, simplifying steps, managing time and finding an understanding through conversation.
However, when group members do not communicate and are not willing to compromise, the students gain very little.
If professors are going to assign group projects, they should be done online. Additionally, students should be graded individually for their contributions, and there should be a way that professors can track what each person did.
By these means, the entire group’s grade does not suffer because one or two people were not willing to participate.
Communicating about group work through an online medium forces students to feel a sense of urgency. The work is more about just getting the project done as opposed to arguing during in-person meetings.
Until students can compromise and communicate more effectively, the online medium is the best option for working on a group project.