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The Art of Group Assignments

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Never in my academic career have I come across a person who doesn’t complain about group assignments. Group assignments are all fun and games until the results actually count towards something important. We can’t run away from group assignments (believe me, I tried – I chose most of my modules by the way they were assessed) as they’re there for a specific reason; to teach us the value of teamwork and other related skills.

In a group, there is always two distinct types of people – the slackers and the doers. If you’re like me, a doer, you’ll identify with the struggle all doers have and that is trusting others to pull their weight. If your group assignment allows you to choose your own friends as your groupmates, then you’ll know for sure who you can and can’t trust. But, if you’re assigned your groupmates randomly, that’s where you’ll worry night and day if your assignment will be done before the deadline.

If you’re a slacker who relies on others to complete the assignment for you, please tell me how you’re so calm about your lack of contribution? I can’t even comprehend how some people put off doing their part when eventually it’s their mark that’s going to be affected.

So in order to conquer the group assignment, here’s what I usually do:

1. Set meetings

Set a date to first meet each other, and subsequent meeting dates at the end of your meetings.

2. Set deadlines

Set specific deadlines for specific tasks – shorter deadlines give people the illusion that it’s urgent.

3. Communicate constantly

Whether it’s on Facebook or by group text messages.

4. Be demanding

Don’t be afraid to demand something of your group mate if they’ve missed the set deadline for a task (ask politely at first, but if they keep putting it off, be more assertive).

5. Send reminders

Constantly remind yourself that the work and effort you put in will reflect your marks. If you know that you’re a slacker, this is the most important tip for you!

6. Peer review

If the assignment includes a peer review in its marking, use it to reward those who contributed and penalise those who didn’t. This should also motivate all the slackers out there.

Those are some of the tips I have when it comes to dealing with group assignments. I wish you all the best and I hope you get wonderful groupmates for your group assignments!

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