There is nothing quite like it—the dreaded group project is the bane of many students’ existence. However, the group project is a period of learning and skill building which prepares students for success at a higher level.
Why is the Group Project Important?
First of all, it’s crucial to understand the importance of group projects. Professors are not assigning these projects as torture—there is actually a reason behind it!
The student group project is important for several reasons. The truth of the matter is that group projects do not end after college graduation; professionals who plan to enter the job market in most careers will face group projects in the workplace.
Group projects are a teambuilding exercise that improves patience, communication, cooperation, and creative thinking. It trains students to work as a team while also sharpening their problem-solving skills. Students learn about responsibility and (if they are adamant about participation) they also increase their personal reliability and accountability.
Group projects are also a great place to experiment with leadership skills. Because groups need direction, a willing leader must arise—this provides an opportunity for students to practice leadership on a smaller scale, with a short period of commitment (rather than, let’s say, a project management role at a large company).
Contrary to students’ wishes, the group project is not going away, as it delivers important opportunities to sharpen certain skills. Students, it’s time to stop hating the group project! Follow these tips to tackle the group project while making it a more enjoyable experience!
Conquering the Group Project in Triumph
When a group project is on the horizon, there is no escaping it. Here are Florida National University’s (FNU) tips to combat the struggle of a group project!
- If Given the Choice, Choose Members Wisely
Students do not always have the option to choose their group members. However, when they do, students should be careful. It’s easy to pick one’s friends to join the group, but that’s also an easy way to put stress on that friendship! Our tip? Pick your friends to be part of your group project only after discussing each individual’s level of commitment.
- Never Fully Rely on Another Student
It’s hard to avoid relying on other students during a group project. Truthfully, members should rely on one another to complete the assignment, but they must be careful not to fully rely on other students! This will put everyone’s grade in jeopardy. Each member must be proactive in setting personal goals, while meeting the goals set by the group as a whole.
- Elect a Leader, Immediately
The leader of a group should never be forced into leadership. They must be interested in taking on a bit of extra responsibility, such as scheduling group meetings, assigning research and other tasks, and organizing the group as a whole.
Without a leader, groups can easily lose track of their goals, and arguments can begin to form. Avoid this by electing a leader quickly and carefully!
- Fairly Divide the Work
Just because one student is talented with PowerPoint does not mean they should be in charge of keeping track of everyone’s work, doing their own work, compiling everyone’s research, creating a PowerPoint, and presenting the project in class. Each group member should have a role, and the work should be divided fairly, keeping each individual in mind as well as the common goal—to do well.
- Do Not Let Deadlines Slip By
The group leader and the rest of the members should agree on a number of deadlines. Be careful to keep up with these! Letting one or two deadlines slide by without fully completing each task is a great way to lost track of what needs to be done!
Keep track of deadlines! If it helps, assign a group member to be the project manager, and have them follow up with everyone’s deadlines!
- Learn Effective Communication
This can (and will) make or break the group project! Some students will respond best to email; others will communicate through text messages; still, others prefer a video conference or a face-to-face meeting. When it comes to cracking the code of communication, it may be based on individual preference. Do not let group members slide by on their work because they “didn’t get the memo.”
Ensure each member knows their role and their deadlines, and ensure that there are several meetings before the presentation. How can this be done? With clear and effective communication, of course.
- Don’t Settle
It is not okay to allow members to be part of the group without pulling their weight. They do not deserve credits for everyone else’s work! Universities do not accept plagiarism on regular assignments and research papers—why would we deem is acceptable for group projects? The truth is, we don’t.
If a student is not doing any work, speak with your professor as soon as possible; they need to know the status of members who decline contribution.
- Get Together Before the Project is Finalized
It’s easy to assume that everyone in the group has been doing their work accordingly, along the way. However, getting together one last time to finalize the project is crucial. This will allow the group to see what they have accomplished, to see the final product, and to notice any details that have been neglected throughout the process, with just enough time to complete those details.
Group Projects Online: Another World
Even more trying than the everyday group project is the online group project. Because a number of our students are enrolled in online courses, we felt compelled to mention these tips, specifically. Follow US News’ tips for online group projects!
Eliminating the Stress of Group Projects with FNU
FNU is committed to the success of each student while they are attending school, and after—that is why group projects are so important! They prepare students for future tests they may face, while providing the skills needed to overcome these battles.