It’s the beginning of the semester and the professor is reviewing the syllabus, your eyes run through all the major assignments only to see the two words that you dread the most “group project.” It’s like red ink on a financial report; you know it might be there but you’re optimistic that it didn’t make it on the syllabus.
If you’re like many students, group projects make you anxious and downright frustrated. Why do professors assign these dreaded projects? Well, I get why; they want us to learn what it is like to work in a group, like in the so called “real world.” It’s a great concept and if all team members had the same goal it wouldn’t be so bad but here is the biggest problem. All the professors have assigned them at the end of the semester! With your class schedule, work schedule and life schedule, who can meet around four to five other student’s schedules? It’s like trying to coral a bunch of three-year-old kids into a straight line; it just doesn’t work and if it does it can only last for a short moment.
Not to mention you always have that one person who just doesn’t seem to care about his/her grade, therefore you pick up the slack because you do.
Real world group projects are different than those in the classroom.
First of all, you’re getting paid. Don’t get me wrong, our education experience is our payment, trite but true.
Second, in the real world you are working with people who value their jobs and are skilled in what they do; making the team flow as a unit instead of as frantic students just trying to finish the semester.
Third, if you are working on a project through your job you can all usually find time to meet during business hours, so to not interrupt your already chaotic schedule.
Fourth, projects in the real world are not typically assigned by three or four different managers and due in the same week.
So, I know the “group project” is not going to go away but I just ask that professors consider not assigning all of them at the end of the semester, which can have an even greater outcome if they don’t. If you do your “group project” in the beginning, you can actually get to know the other students earlier in the semester; rather than when it is almost over.