Yesterday marked the end of my last group project of my undergraduate degree! (unless I am forgetting one….) Over my four years I have had to participate in many many group projects, some which have gone better than others.
I present to you (drumroll please) Amanda’s 6 Steps to a Successful Group Project:
Soon after learning your groups, gather everyone’s preferred method of communication (exchange email addresses or phone numbers) so everyone can contact everyone. Also I’ve found that Facebook groups (not messages) work well for this. Your group mates can post any links to research that they find, share documents and make your group meetings an event.
Actually meet in PERSON. Make sure to bring all materials you’ll be working with: textbooks, articles, snacks (you should bring snacks anywhere you go, honestly), and your schedule for the next couple of weeks. This meeting should involve splitting up the project/presentation into manageable parts for each person. Assign who will put together the PowerPoint or the write-up and make a deadline for when each person’s contributions should be submitted to that person.
Be a good person and do your section of the assignment on your own time. No one likes the person who is holding up the entire presentation. If you’re having trouble with a part, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Chances are other people are stuck on their parts too and maybe you can plan to work through it together. Also, I don’t know how many of you know this, but your professors have office hours EVERY WEEK, which are basically time when they are in their office available to students for any range of questions. Make use of them! calvinStep 4
Meet again with your group. This time the project should be mostly assembled. Take this time to finalize your slides/poster/essay. Make sure that your project follows a logical sequence and that each person knows what part they will be responsible for presenting. Oh I forgot to mention the most important part! The library has these super convenient study rooms that students can book for three hours at a time at the circulation desk on the main floor. They’re a great place that ensures you won’t run in to too many distractions, but they are still close enough to Starbucks in the case of a caffeine emergency.
PRACTICE! This can be with your group or on your own. I always make short form speaking notes when I have a presentation, this way I can make sure that what I’m saying lines up with the presentation and that I don’t skip anything in the natural nervousness that happens during presentations.
Present it! I know not everybody is comfortable with group presentations, but the more preparation you do beforehand, the better you will feel about going up in front of the room.
Best of luck with any remaining presentations and projects for the year! I’ll talk to you soon!