Welcome back, Badgers! I hope you all had a good reading week! Unfortunately, now it’s over and we’re right back into the busy semester. If you’ve got group projects coming up, chances are you have a few of these types of group members in your group.

A) The Slacker

B) The “I haven’t seen them since the first day, are they still in this class?”

C) The One Who Does All the Work

D) The One Who Does Their Part

E) The “I All-Nighter All My Projects”

Hopefully, you’re not stuck being C in a group full of A’s. Whether you are or aren’t, here are some tips for surviving group work!

1. As soon as possible, swap emails AND cell phone numbers.

You might think just having everyone’s email is fine, until you realize no one ever checks their email that often. Texting is probably the best way to get a hold of someone on short notice, or Facebook, depending on how often they use it. Definitely make sure you have at least two ways of communicating with everyone.

2. Assign responsibilities early on.

This means you’ll have to lay out all the work that needs to be done and separate it all into categories. Then give everyone a responsibility and a due date for the next time you’ll meet, when everyone should have this done. For example, give everyone a week to pick a topic, or pick a date several weeks away for everyone to have their research done. This gives you some time to put together the final product, whether it’s a presentation or paper or something else. Plus, an earlier deadline means you won’t be stuck waiting for someone’s information at the literal last minute (hopefully).

3. Meet up regularly.

Get together with your entire group at least a few times before the deadline. If it’s a presentation, you’ll definitely have to meet several times to practice and make sure everyone’s on the same page. More importantly, it’ll probably take two or more meetings to compile everything together. If all the information isn’t there yet, make sure you still have time for last minute fixes and tweaks.

4. Communicate.

If you are having a busy week and meeting one of your deadlines isn’t quite possible, make sure to let your group know so they know and can give you some extra time and so they don’t think you’re just slacking off. If you try to keep up to date with deadlines and research, everything will go more smoothly and your group will trust you more instead of labelling you a slacker. Plus the work will feel like less of a chore and more like work if you’re doing on your own initiative instead of having someone else tell you to do it. Also, make sure everyone’s parts are equal amounts of work. It’s no good to have some members feeling annoyed or stressed out because of the uneven workload.

5. Play nice.

Group work can bring a lot of different personality types to the table. If someone’s too controlling, get most of your work done at home and done early. That way they won’t have to boss you around as much. If someone is slacking off and there’s nothing you can do, distribute that work evenly between the rest of the group and note it in the peer review, which most professors are pretty good at implementing. Don’t just dump all the extra workload on someone else, even if they chose to take it on, you don’t want the entire group’s marks to suffer because of one person. Thankfully, group work is usually not so bad and people are usually on the same page.

So, hopefully these are some useful tips for surviving all your groups projects this semester. What’s your least favourite type of group member? Do you have any tips I missed here? Leave a comment and let us know. Good luck, and I hope all your group projects are slacker-free this semester!

1 Comment

  1. Carole Moss says:

    With Group Work it’s also important to remember that you are liable for any acts of academic misconduct your group mates might produce. As a tip to avoid a charge of academic misconduct, ensure that each group member has a dedicated section that can be proven as their own work (e.g., keep rough notes and drafts, sign an agreement that outlines who is doing what section).