Group projects are unavoidable in college, but the stress they can cause doesn’t have to be. Today we’re sharing 7 tips on how to make the most of your group projects and land a grade everyone will love.
Leverage your teammates’ strengths.
The best group projects demonstrate the strengths of each team member. Bauer students have diverse sets of skills, so take advantage of that. Have someone on your team who’s a grammar expert? Assign them to edit your team’s final paper. Does someone in your group live for PowerPoint or Prezi? Ask them to put together your final slides. It’s important that you discuss your individual strengths the first time you get together so you can assign roles accordingly at the start of your project.
Use campus resources.
You know all those resources you heard about at UH or Bauer orientation? Use them! They’re fantastic for group projects. For a quiet meeting spot, reserve a group study room in the UH library (three of your members must be present in order to check out a key). The library also has cameras, memory cards and camcorders available for check-out. And don’t forget about Bauer’s in-house Starbucks (2nd floor, Melcher Hall), because coffee is definitely a valid resource!
Let’s face it — college students are busy. Some team members may be juggling a heavy course load while others face a demanding work schedule, so we know that finding a day and time for project meetings can be challenging. This is where technology can save the day. Create a group message for your team (the GroupMe app is a great option since it won’t clutter your phone messages) to communicate throughout the semester, and use Google Hangouts to include members that aren’t able to physically attend meetings. Make sure you test the technology on your devices beforehand to address any compatibility issues.
Remember what we said up there about assigning roles? That won’t work unless you’re all holding each other accountable for your respective responsibilities. Don’t have a great kickoff meeting and then put off your next meeting until everyone’s finished their part. It may be too late to provide feedback to some team members at that point. You don’t have to schedule a meeting every week, but it is a good idea to plan a few follow-up meetings to check up on everyone’s progress. Another great idea? Create a shared Google Drive folder where everyone can update their share of the work for all team members to review.
When professors are listening to five other group presentations in one class, it can be difficult to make yours stand out. While having good content is necessary, making your presentation creative and unique can make the difference between an A and an A+. Don’t be afraid to try something different during your presentation. Create an exciting video or come up with a way to engage the class while you present. Just because it wasn’t spelled out for you in the syllabus or project assignment doesn’t mean that a little strategic creativity won’t go a long way. A project that draws the interest of your classmates is also more likely to impress your professor.
It’s always a good idea to practice before class presentations, but it’s especially necessary for group projects since you’re dependent on the rest of your group members’ performance. Avoid common pitfalls like running out of time or leaving out important information by practicing several times before your presentation date. Designate one of your group members to time your group’s presentation and have everyone provide feedback to each group member. The most important tip? Don’t wait to practice until the day of your presentation!
One of the best parts of group projects is that they’re great opportunities to network and build relationships with your peers. Take your work seriously, but don’t miss out on the chance to get to know people you might not have otherwise met. Try meeting off campus to explore new places, follow each other on social media and even go out for a celebratory meal once your presentation is over. It’ll be a much deserved reward for all your hard work.
By Priscilla Aceves