As a college student you will quite often get a task of preparing a group project in collaboration with one or several of your classmates. It may be an extremely taxing assignment, although not always due to the same reasons – especially if you don’t have a lot of experience of working in a group. In this article you will find several recommendations and tips that, hopefully, will make your work a little bit more agreeable.
The main problem with group project is not, as you may think, difference of opinions and approaches, but a simple fact that you should work not alone, but together. The goal of the task is not so much to make you write something, but to teach you organization and teamwork. Although the Internet makes such collaboration much easier, you still have to gather together from time to time. Make a plan and make sure everybody follows it.
Equal Distribution of Labor
If you had any say in who you’ll have to work with, you probably already know strong and weak points of your collaborators. Try to organize yourselves so that each has roughly the same amount of work to do and does what he or she does best.
However, sometimes (especially if it is your tutor who assigns people to groups) you will find your group weighed down by an entirely useless member. He can’t be trusted with anything, he either doesn’t do the task or somebody has to do it all over again afterwards. If it is possible, ask your tutor to get you rid of him. If not – don’t try to give him work for the sake of it, it is not worth it. Your main goal is to make a project, not to achieve justice.
Define the Techniques You Are Going to Use in the Beginning
Define how you are going to perform tasks. For example, what you will do if you cannot meet each other in person (e.g., use Skype conferences). How the editing process is to be organized. What to do if someone doesn’t do his share of work on time. How you are going to evaluate the work performed by each member. Unpleasant surprises will happen – you should be prepared.
Report Regularly to Your Tutor
You shouldn’t work in isolation from each other and from your tutor. He is not an enemy you should fool; treat him as a senior partner in your work. Report regularly to him – this way you will be able to track your own progress and, if necessary, receive assistance from the tutor, sometimes even when you don’t realize you need it.
Teamwork asks for dependability, ability to correlate your schedules and courtesy. If you demand these things from collaborators, first demand them from yourself. Make sure that every member of the group keeps the entire project on his hard drive at all times – thus you will not lose the entire work even if one of you encounters technical problems.