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Last updateWed, 18 Sep 2019 12pm

Features

Carrying Your Weight in a Group Project

group-projectsAt some point in college, students are asked to work on a class project in groups, which may account for a major grade in the particular course in which it is assigned.  These projects come in many forms including quizzes, presentations or major term projects.

Associate Professor of English, Dr. Margaret Delguercio knows that in a class like Shakespeare I or II, group projects can be very helpful in increasing students’ understanding of a difficult concept, but is also aware of commitments that members have out of class.

Delguercio tells her students each semester, “I try to set at least one class period aside as I know it is often difficult to meet outside of class with conflicting schedules.” These projects, along with journal entries are assigned equal weight so they are not necessarily a deciding factor for a final grade.  Participation is weighted equally as well, whether it means contributing to the discussion for ideas or drawing pictures on a poster.

Not all students mind bearing the brunt of the work because others are not as active.  Junior Tara Malander said, “I do not mind having to do most of the work even though it accounts for a grade for the whole group.”

It worked well for Malander to have one person responsible for the majority of the project since the task was completed in a timely manner.   Rebecca Leitt, a junior, has a business law class in which she has been working on a collaborative group project for a good part of the term.  

She said, “I do not like group projects, but while I don’t mind doing most of the work, I try to give the group members an equal amount of the work.”  This is especially important in this case because the project will culminate into a presentation, but more importantly it gives her and the other students in the group the opportunity to work as a team which is an important skill in many workplace settings. 

Regardless who takes on the majority of the work, one grade may be assigned to all members and can result in added stress on one or more group members.  This is especially critical if the project involves a presentation summary upon completion of the assignment. 

Lauren Polara, sophomore, said, “I am currently doing a group project right now and while I do not mind it, everyone gets the same grade and part of it involves the amount of work each person contributed.” 

Sophomore Megan Haraz also agrees that this adds to the stress level of the entire group.  Weighing out the project steps between members can become an even more critical step.  The other hard part of this is meeting up outside of class time. Meeting in the campus library is sometimes helpful to move further along or get a gauge of where everyone is. Sophomore Allison Stathius, was a student in Dr. Terri Peters’ Educational Psychology class last semester where students are required to get articles and type summaries before posting them on a wiki.

She said she was not very fond of the project because, “I never fully understood how to use the wiki website despite it being reviewed by many other members in my group.” 

Teachers have certain ways of presenting these projects which can be very different from what students are used to in groups. As a result, while the teacher may be a fan of the method, students may have difficulty distributing the weight.

IMAGE TAKEN from valleymagazinepsu.com

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