Re: Making group work palatable

Subject: Re: Making group work palatable
From: Janet Renze <jrenze -at- CGN -dot- ORG>
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 1996 17:31:16 -0600

WOW--does this "group project" strike home with me! I always
*hated* group projects (and it seemed like every prof. wanted to do
at least one a semester during grad school) because of the reasons

In the academic world, collaboration is often a good student doing all
the work while the slackers who maneuvered to be on the good student's
team doing as little as possible. Teams are usually assigned
arbitrarily, with no real goal in mind, or based on preferences of the

Yes, students need to learn how to work together, because the work
world they're entering (or continuing to work in) usually demands collaboration.
but, I also agree with Len again--
You need to define who is going to do what, how each of the
collaborators is going to contribute, and then develop working processes ....

unless each person knows what they must contribute, the net effect
will be a frustrating project.

In defense of giving group projects, maybe part of the project could be _planning_
who does what and developing a timeline--some exercise to also work on
project management. This is one skill that was almost totally ignored
in school, but one of the most critical to possess. Too many groups
(both in and out of the academic world) flail through a project, and then
gripe afterward about who did what. Approaching the project proactively and
planning for roles and responsibilities would make the work go much
more smoothly...

good luck!!
Janet Renze
jrenze -at- cgn -dot- org

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