As SHE college students, we will ultimately have to do group assessments. Why can’t I just do the work on my own? I’m good at being alone…
The rationale behind group assignments is that students become familiar with working with others. When we get out into the workforce, we’ll ultimately be collaborating with people on a daily basis. However, SHE students are clever things and know the real reason we are given group tasks is so tutors/facilitators mark less assignments. Regardless, we’ll just have to face the music and work together!
Here are some of my top tips on how to do well in a group assessment:
- GET TO KNOW YOUR TEAM MEMBERS
Let’s be honest. None of you want to do this assignment, let alone with a group of people you don’t know. However, if you want that A mark… you’re going to have to take an interest. I can usually tell pretty quickly which roles each of us is going to play
- The Know-It-All
This person takes it upon themselves to become the team leader and more often than not, is a mature-age student (mean but true!). They can seem quite pushy and forward at times but ultimately, you’re thankful for them because they keep the team on track.
- The Indecisive one
This person ‘doesn’t mind’ what happens, doesn’t say much and just goes with the flow. Make sure you encourage this person to contribute otherwise they could go through the whole assessment without having much input (which is probably okay with them but they need to get involved)
- The IT one
If the task is a presentation, this guy usually puts their hand up to develop the PowerPoint slides and collate everyone else’s work. This normally happens closer to the due date and can be seen as a pretty breezy job. However, just as many marks are given to the appearance of the presentation as the content, so make sure someone double-checks the slides before the due date!
- The ghost
Last year, this team member barely made it to class and submitted their part of the assignment the night before we were due to present. Keep a close eye on this one and make sure they are on track with the work they have to do
- CREATE CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION
I went through high school thinking Facebook was just a way to watch videos and receive creepy adds from people with no mutual friends. How wrong I was. Facebook is a great way to keep in contact with your team members as you can create a private group to post your ideas, organize meet up times etc. If someone doesn’t have Facebook, then just exchange numbers and set up an iMessage or WhatsApp chat.
You should all exchange your La Trobe student e-mails and set up a Google doc for you to all edit and add to. It is really useful to see where people are up to in their part of the assignment and also allows contribution if team members are struggling for ideas.
- MEET UP REGULARLY
I’ve made the mistake of only meeting up with my group once before a presentation. I thought we would be okay. Wrong! The presentation was disjointed and you could tell who wrote which part. Especially if the assignment is a presentation, you should meet up as much as possible and discuss how to make it flow better. This involves making sure everyone is using the same terminology and level of formality.
Watching two hours of Parliamentary Question Time is more interesting than two hours of presentations about exactly the same thing. What’s even worse is when students read their speech word-for-word and only look up at the audience when they have finished. Some people blame the fact that they are shy… but that is even more reason to practice! Tutors/facilitators are not extraterrestrial beings and like us, do actually get tired of these presentations too! So spend a little extra time on making your presentation interesting and engaging for them because you will reap the rewards later on!
If you want more advise on how to become a better speaker during presentations, visit the ‘Achieve @ Uni’ site I mentioned in my last post. latrobe.edu.au/students/support/achieve.
- SAY SOMETHING
Ensure that everyone has equaled input. Remember, all team members receive the same mark so you don’t want someone’s laziness dragging you down. At the same time, they could be dealing with issues outside the uni and struggling to meet deadlines the team has set. If you’ve tried talking to them and seen no change, make your tutor/facilitator aware of the problem (BEFORE the due date!)
Good luck to everybody in their group assignments and I will leave you with wise words of Zac Efron “we’re all this together.”