You may love or hate them, but without a doubt group projects are everywhere in college classes. Especially at this point in the semester, you are probably trying to fit a group project into your already hectic schedule. Group projects are often a source of frustration and confusion for exactly this reason, but if executed correctly, you can learn a lot from working as a team with your classmates. Particularly at Suffolk, working on group projects can be an opportunity to meet and collaborate with students you might not have the chance to otherwise. To make the best experience possible for your team, try sharing these tips and implementing them with your group.
1. Make a group message.
Use either iMessage or a texting app like Whatsapp to get all the contact information for your team and create an outlet where you can all communicate without being in the same room as soon as possible.
2. Talk about your availability for meetings.
If you can coordinate the availabilities of each team member at the beginning of your project, it will be easier to set up meetings in the future. Remember, be honest. If you are a very busy person, which most Suffolk students are, communicate this with your teammates so you all can be realistic about meetings and deadlines.
3. Discuss what needs to get done and start a Google Doc.
What I find very useful during group projects is utilizing Google Docs. For many of my team assignments, I’ll copy and paste the directions for the assignment into the document, so everyone is working from the same set of instructions. This is also a great place to divide up the work. Discuss the strengths of each team member and assign different tasks. Write each teammate’s name next to a specific task on the project so everyone can see who is responsible for what.
4. Set due dates.
Even though the final project may not be due until finals week, set goals for when different parts of the project should be completed. These goals should be agreed upon unanimously, so everyone is prepared and agrees with the time frames. Also, determine who will be the editor and the one to turn in the final assignment so you’re not scrambling to submit.
5. Meet in person at least once.
Even though work for a group project is usually designed to be split up, there is often a collaborative component. Especially when the due date is approaching, it is helpful to go over your finished product together. This can be a time to cooperatively edit and share ideas with your group. Like I mentioned prevously, there is a lot that can be learned from the different people in your group; your team will often have different skill sets and ideas. Your group can be a source for brainstorming and help, so don’t hesitate to meet up and discuss if you are stuck.
I hope you are able to utilize some of these strategies in your next group project. Also, If you are a person that likes group projects and enjoys working collaboratively with your classmates, drop by a study session at the CLAS before your next project or exam!