How to Get the Best Grades for Group Work Assignments
It is a common practice for professors and evaluators around the world to assign their students projects and assignments in groups. This is one of the most effective ways that institutes around the world have adopted in order to infuse the spirit of teamwork in their students. Participating in a group assignment helps you develop a lot of qualities and make you benefit a lot. Besides the team spirit, it gives you a chance to develop leadership skills, teamwork skill, and several other skills that employers all around the world like to see in their candidates. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. Preparing a group assignment can be a very tough challenge for various reasons.
If you are a student who has to prepare group assignments in the near future, it is advisable for you to think of the ways you can make the experience great. You should prepare yourself to deal with the issues that you are bound to face when you start preparing this assignment with your team. Moreover, the group assignments are evaluated with a more critical lens as compared to individual assignments. The faculty members assign your group projects and assignments with an expectation that you will produce quality work. They expect that this work will definitely be better than what you could have done individually. That is one of the major ideas behind asking the students to work in groups. However, most of the times, these expectations are not met. The students, more often than not, fail to meet the expectations of their professors in group assignments. The reason is that a lot of people are involved and at times, it gets difficult to manage and control things. Before you know it, things are out of hands and it is already too late.
If you are a student who is about to prepare a group assignment, here are some tips that you can follow in order to get good grades:
1. Exchange all the necessary information and details
First things first, exchange your contact information. This is something that you should probably do right after you have been assigned the group project. Many students tend to believe that the group assignment will take lesser time than what an individual project takes. However, keep in mind that most of the times, it turns out to be the contrary. Since a lot of people are involved, the pace at which the individual parts of the assignment move forward vary. Therefore, the complete assignment ends up taking more time than an individual one. Moreover, if the professor has divided the class into groups himself, there is a high chance that you do not know your group members. Therefore, meet your group members and exchange contact information as soon as you get the assignment. Once this is done, you can create a group on any one of the multiple social media or messengers at your disposal. You can even collect the email addresses of the group members. The group can be used to do all the discussions related to the project and it will make sure that no information is lost as you move forward with the assignment. Whatever you will post on the group will stay there. This will come in quite handy as there are chances that you will need to revisit your worn in the later stages of the assignment.
2. Appoint a leader for the group
This is something that all the students should do as soon as their groups are finalized. At times, this can even prove to result in discord among the members of the group. However, it is really important that you have someone in charge of the group. In most of the cases, a student should nominate himself for the post of the leader. Keep in mind that the job and the role of the leader of the group are very crucial to ensure the success of the group and the assignment. And the job that the leader has to fulfil is fairly obvious. You see, since you will be working in a group, there are high chances of things not working out between different members. The leader needs to be the one who connects the members and builds the contact. The leader should also be able to effectively set a clear goal for the group in terms of the assignment. Working in this direction, he can even delegate specific tasks and parts of the assignment to members of the group. It is not necessary for the leader of the group to be someone with prior experience of leading. What is really important is that person in charge is really passionate about the assignment that is in progress. As long as the leader is really focused on the goal of the group, he can prove to be effective for the group.
3. Decide the schedule of meetings in advance
The first thing that you should do after getting the assignment is to meet all your fellow members. As soon as the group meets, the first thing on the agenda should be to decide when the group is going to meet in the future. The idea behind this is again to deal with the fact that there are multiple stakeholders in a group assignment. Every student involved will obviously be involved in a lot of activities in the university or the college. Those activities are also important and hence, one cannot just miss out on those to work on the assignment. Therefore, if you create a schedule for how the group will meet in future, it will help all the members of the group to manage their time accordingly and easily. Once the schedule for the meetings of the group is set, all the members working on the assignment can clear their time for the required days. This might prove to be helpful if you and your group are looking to book a study room in the library. If you leave something like that for the last minute, you may end up regretting.
4. Create a timeline of events
While working on any type of project, what is most important is that the group should be making progress continuously. When you get assigned the assignment, a timeline should be drawn for the expectations of the outcomes at various intervals. This timeline should obviously include the meetings that have been mentioned in point number 3. Any assignment or a project evolves in stages. It is highly important that the progress at these stages is critically reviewed. This timeline should include the dates and deadlines by which specific tasks should be done or the level of development should be achieved. If the members of the group are responsible for the completion of different tasks, then each of these tasks should be mentioned in the timeline.
It is absolutely important that the objectives or these little milestones at which the progress needs to be checked, get discussed in the first meeting itself. If these little progress is not being made within the desired time, then it should also be discussed. Once the group starts lagging behind, the entire assignment can get delayed.
5. Divide the tasks equally
The first meeting of the group should be about making a list of all the tasks that the group has to perform in order to complete the assignment or the project. Since it is a group assignment, it is quite likely that it will be a big one. Therefore, the wise thing to do will be to divide the assignment into small tasks. Doing so will help you manage the assignment effectively. Moreover, dividing the assignment into small tasks helps you to delegate the tasks among all the individuals. It is really important that the assignment gets divided equally among the members. This is where having a group leader will come in quite handy. Everyone in the group will have their strengths and weaknesses. The leader should spend some time figuring out these and then delegating the tasks of the assignment accordingly. There is no point in someone doing something that he is not good at and ruining his contribution. Moreover, if the assignment is composed of a number of questions related to the subject or field of study, you can simply divide the questions among yourselves based on the interests and that would help.
6. Be wise when it comes to conflicts
Let’s face it. When a group composed of a number of members work on something, conflicts are bound to arise. These conflicts can prove to be the biggest obstacle in your path to completing the assignment. Therefore, it is important that the members of the group deal with these conflicts wisely when they happen. However, as a group, you should not try to avoid conflicts completely. One should understand that if a group has conflicts of opinions, it is one of the best signs of progress being made. Conflicts if opinions are something that people of a group should embrace as they are a part of rational discussions. If the people of a group end up agreeing to the ideas generated by the leader or any individual, then the group will hardly make any significant progress. If you are the group leader and somebody’s opinions differ from yours on certain things, then do not think that you are right. Even if you believe so, do not dismiss all the possibilities and opinions immediately. All the opinions, when spoken out, should be openly discussed and judged by the members and evaluated for how they can help the assignment progress further.
7. Don’t finish too close to the deadline
When you make the schedule for the turn of events with respect to the assignment in the first few meetings, make sure that you plan to finish the assignment before the deadline. The idea is that the group should be able to complete the assignment a lot before the deadline. Think of the assignment as the final draft of an essay. Once the final draft is ready, it is bound to have some flaws. A student always goes over the final draft of the essay and makes changes as per the requirements. For the same reasons, there should be enough time with the group to make changes in the assignment. This time can be utilized to deal with various issues like fixing the word count or font size or changing the style of the content. Therefore, try and work in a way that the group ends up completing the assignment at least a couple of days before the deadline for the submission. This will allow you to do the proofreading and add all the final touches highly effectively. You won’t be required to rush through the process. This time will allow you to make sure that the assignment is a piece that is smooth enough to read and can get you a good grade.
8. Do not groupthink
To groupthink is one of the worst things you can do to your group assignment. Groupthink is when individuals working in a group try to shape their ideas or opinions to align with the majority of the ideas in the group. It is when you force yourself or simply pretend to agree with the majority of the ideas of the group. As a result of this, the group ends up making decisions on the assumption that all members of the group agree on an idea while in reality, they do not. Therefore, even if all the members of the group have the same idea and you are the only one with a different one, you should speak it out. Because if you do, the group will evaluate it at least and then arrive at the final decision. If you do not, then you are depriving your group discussions of new and fresh ideas; and if that happens, that will go on to seriously hamper the quality of the assignment in question.
Therefore, make sure that you and your group follow these eight points to make sure that you get the best out of your group assignment.