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Class group projects

by Matt Clark - Copy Editor
Tue, May 2nd 2017 07:00 pm

Everybody usually has to participate in at least one group project throughout their academic career. The idea of working together to create a finished project sounds like a great opportunity to make connections and learn how to work as a team but the truth is, almost nobody takes group projects seriously. 

I have found that the group project workload is divided up between one or two people while the rest of the work is completed by the rest of the group shortly before the deadline. I have worked on a slideshow presentation that my group members completed in the classroom minutes before we were supposed to speak.   

One of the biggest problems with group projects is getting everybody together to work on it. I understand if people can't meet due to work and other classes; those are perfectly acceptable reasons to not meet but cancelling on your group members to party is not a valid excuse especially when the deadline is in a few short days. Nobody wants to work on the project but it needs to be done anyway. Wasting your partner's time will only waste your time later.    

Another problem I have with group projects is that nobody seems to care about the presentations. Whenever I watch a group present their project, I zone out and my attention fades. I feel that I am not alone in this. When I have given presentations, I see people looking around the room and sometimes at their phones. This doesn't bother me, as it makes me more comfortable speaking in front of everyone if I know that nobody is paying attention but I ask myself, what is the point of making group presentations if nobody learns from them? 

I would rather take a test than work in a group because studying for a test requires focus and concentration on the course material. Working by yourself gives you full control of your project. If you end up with a bad partner, you have to fear what unexpected thing they might say or do during a presentation.   

I wouldn't complain about something if I didn't have some positive ideas about it. I think there are lots of things that can be done to make group projects more bearable. Keeping the assignment short will keep the audience from getting bored and it will force the people making the project to consider what information is the most essential, rather than filling their project with unnecessary content to satisfy the professor's requirements. 

Keeping the group size small would also help the process. More people in the group means there are more schedules to conflict with each other.

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