You’ve been at college for a couple of weeks now and recently discovered there’s a group assignment/project due in the next month. Group assignments are a situation throughout college that will make you groan, have a bitch and contemplate quitting over. They’re the nightmare to our nightmares as they result in either poor grades or late submissions and endless bitch fights amongst participants. As we cannot escape them, here are some tips on how you can successfully pass group assignments.
Some tutors can be real sweethearts and allow you chose your besties for group assignments. Others aren’t so kind and have already assigned you to a group and all I can say is, you’re going to have to deal with it. If you haven’t been assigned, I suggest picking team members carefully and swiftly all the while being active. For postponing can lead to an awkward group environment and experiencing weaknesses than strengths.
Be accountable for distributed tasks
One of the things you’ll do with group presentations, apart from introducing yourself, is asking what one’s strengths are while looking for weaknesses. After sussing out strengths, I suggest basing each task on strengths those within the group have. As group assignments can be difficult since everyone is on a different time schedule, try to accommodate everyone’s time needs. There’s no point in creating frenemies so here a few suggestions are:
- Be polite and thoughtful
- Be considerate of others lives and time schedules
- Offer help to who appear/don’t appear to be struggling.
- Make sure everyone is holding up their end of the bargain for his/her tasks so no one is being a ‘free rider’.
Jane isn’t available, how do I get in contact with her?
One of the best things I love about modern day living is technology being at my fingertips. There have been a couple of times where I haven’t been able to attend a group meeting or someone hasn’t been able to attend so to combat this, we set up a group discussion page on Facebook and once the assignment is over, we disable the page.
We use this page to upload and distribute information for other people’s sections and hold general questions of how everyone is going with the assignment. It is a good way to keep in touch with one another, particularly if you aren’t able to meet on a daily basis. The positive of having these pages, which is also a downside, if it comes time to asking your tutor to be marked individually for various reasons; than these pages can be used as collateral damage.
If you don’t want to set up a group assignment page, you can always use apps like Google hangouts or Skype to name a few. At the end of the day, group assignments test our academic and social skills but also our interpersonal skills that will be later used in the future.
It’s writing time!
With group assignments, most students often bring up the strategy of dividing sections of the assignment and each student writes his/her own. After countless arguments and cat fights, I wouldn’t recommend this technique. As it results in inconsistent writing, utter chaos and the possibility of someone ‘coping and pasting’ their content. I would suggest collaborating together with writing as it ensures consistent language that flows easily and thoughts on the subject.
Active listening….. What?
Group assignments often mean you need to commit to actively listening to what your partner’s perspectives and putting their shoes on your feet. I’ve found that active listening not only plays a part in listening and providing fundamental feedback to the speaker; but allows your fellow team members to feel respected and trusted. By making an effort, active listening determines whether or not your group assignment succeeds or fails.
Group assignments always start off with clear expectations of the assignment and team members but problems will rise. Problems that often occur with group assignments is conflict in relation to two or more team members. If members are disagreeing on something, give them time and space to individually communicate their issues. Than as a collective, vote on the outcome as this not only teaches you how to negotiate conflict as an adult; but it also allows you to overcome conflict and turn criticism into constructive feedback.
Knowing this is an essential powerful skill for both college and the work force as success in our careers doesn’t just stem for hard skills alone. Whether you want to become a Lawyer, Nurse or the guy handing out flowers to strangers; soft skills such as communication and collaboration with all walks of life will make you excel in life.
Have you experienced your first group assignment pairing yet? Leave me a message if you have. For my experienced Dearest Readers, do you have any tips or tricks for group assignments in life?
Until next time,