If you are a student (or have been a student), what do you think about group prodjects (intentionally misspelled) ?

Group prodject from hell. It was my first class in the excellent (read: hard) web design program at our area community college. The final exam was to be a presentation. With a group. My heart was in my throat, my stomach was on the floor. I knew that college would include this stuff. I still wasn’t prepared for it. The (excellent) teacher chose the groups and assigned the topics. As she passed out the assignment specs and requirements, I hoped against hope that I would be placed in a group with some of the other old bags in the class. I figgered we could chillax (sorry Mouse, I’m quoting one of the other old bags) at coffee shops. Not. My group consisted of me, a very smart and poised high school student, and a nice young 20-something man with some serious academic issues that it was none of my business to identify.

Okay. How bad could this be. The content would be easy. We basically just had to regurgitate a couple of lectures, dividing five topics and an introduction between us. Original meeting? Young man chose *one* of the topics. High school girl picked two and I took the other two.

Okay. Meeting at coffee shops? Not. Email communications? Not good. High school girl was using a family computer. Remember those days? 20-something was dealing with some old, crippled computer and wasn’t usually available via email.

Two days before the presentation… I emailed both of my group members to ask how they were doing. High school girl didn’t respond. Turned out she was at some kind of family thing. 20-something guy? “I can’t find any information about my topic.” He was the first to choose a topic and I figgered he y’know like, was *interested* in researching it. Roight? I was hanging out in the bowels of the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre during a YAG production when I received that email message. I sat there in a state of stupification for a few moments before I replied something like, “Young man, here is a link to some information about your topic but this is the wild wild west and there isn’t a definitive answer to this, so you have to figure it out for yourself.”

Okay. I cannot believe that my little group got an A on our presentation. We got up there and we all did our stuff. Somehow, we managed to keep our presentation within the time requirements. We hadn’t practiced and our 20-something guy went off on a long siloloquy and the high school girl and I looked at each other, thinking, “What is he doing?”

Against all odds, we did finish our presentation on time and we got an A.

In my life after school, I rarely do group presentations like those I did at the community college. I collaborate with my team but we usually work on our own prodjects. I write and present my own stuff.

What do you think about group prodjects?

4 Responses to “Groupthink”

  1. Tonya Says:

    I HATE them. I always ended up doing most of the work; there was always AT LEAST one slacker; I loathe oral presentations more than anything on earth; and it basically made the term “teamwork” an empty buzz word in my experience.

  2. l4827 Says:

    They can be good if the team is built well. In school, the work was not equally performed …….. As I remember …..

    – D says she totally agrees with Tonya.

  3. Jay Says:

    We have a lot of things that must be approved by people from all departments. But we have found that a group can rarely write a document from scratch, so somebody is tasked with the initial draft and then everyone gets to tear it apart and put it back together. It generally works OK, especially if the original writer understands what is in store for their work.

  4. Dona Says:

    I hate them too. In grad school we did them a lot and for some reason people always wanted to be in my group. Once a group consisted of a 30-something single mom who was a perfectionist, a 60-something man who was the opposite of a perfectionist, and me. The perfectionist and I ended up doing the entire project because the man and the perfectionist fought all the time. I was kind of like Dr. Phil or something. The perfectionist always wanted to be in my group. Bad memories….