The Infamous Group Project

Like many have posted, I too have had many bad experiences with group projects.  Apart from lazy group members, egos, poor communication, and waring visions for the project outcomes, something I hadn’t thought about until reading through everyone’s posts was the fact that often times I simply don’t like the project assigned.  If I’m not relatively interested in a project that I have to work on for a few weeks with other classmates, it’s like pulling teeth to get me motivated to complete the work.  Will it get done?  Absolutely.  I’m not going to let my grades slip because I’m not entertained by an assignment.  But, when you’re working in groups, there is generally some kind of collaborative work that requires you to think outside of the box.  It’s not the sort of independent book work that you might have each week.  As a result, I think groups  start off on the wrong foot because they don’t want to honestly invest extra time organizing, communicating, delegating work, or coming to a consensus on the project’s direction.  By assigning projects that have no real world connections, a boring problem to solve, and tedious write ups, professors set up extra obstacles for groups before the real work has begun.

Without completely projecting the challenges of group work on professors, another problem that I’ve encountered within the realm of communication, is members not being open about what they’re able to commit to projects.  Many students work during the school year, participate and volunteer in a variety of organizations, take more than 12 hours of classes, have other group projects, or have things going on in their personal lives that make group projects a special challenge for them.  If members are not honest about how they can adequately complete they’re portion of the project, others can be hasty about making hasty judgments about someone’s participation or investment in the project.  I know when I’ve worked during school, I was not able to meet with my groups after class in the early evening, because I was cocktailing.  But, when everyone knew that I had these other obligations, it was easier to make appropriate adjustments with the group, complete my part of the project, and keep up with everyone’s progress.  Even though I didn’t know anyone too well, being honest about what I could and couldn’t do helped to disarm the awkward initial feelings that brew when random students are grouped together.

The last challenge that comes to mind for me is working with unapproachable or overly sensitive people.  Like I mentioned above, group projects are generally designed for collaborative work.  So students end up putting themselves out there when making recommendations or criticisms about an idea for the project.  But, if everyone stays focused on the purpose and direction of the project when there is a clash of ideas, I think the differences can be talked out and resolved efficiently so long as everyone is being respectful of the others’ ideas.  If there is a particularly hard headed member who won’t let anyone question there ideas or if someone is especially sensitive to their ideas being dissected, then progress slows down exponentially to resolve challenges unrelated to the work everyone is trying to complete.  I know I haven’t always practiced this myself, but it’s something I try to remind myself of when collaborating with others.  There are a lot of great ideas that come from brainstorming with other students especially from different backgrounds and majors because they all solve and see problems differently.  If groups can comfortably share ideas and take a handful of different solutions to solve problems from angles that are not typically considered when doing independent work, I think that group work can effectively build everyone’s critical thinking skills.

My current group started off a little shaky during the first week, but I think that we’re smoothing out some of the challenges we were having.  Group projects always have an adjustment period where everyone is not quite acclimated to working with each other or adjusting their routines.  It’s easy for some tension or concerns to rise if some members start to make headway on the project and others aren’t initiating or inquiring about what needs to be done.  I felt this way about my group at first.  I’m taking a lot of hours and have a lot of other projects that I’m working on in addition to this one, so I can’t really afford to not be on schedule with this project.  Most of my time is already allocated for other projects I’m working on, so the time I’ve adjusted for this project needs to be used well.  I think that my attempts at quickly organizing the group and making prompts for everyone to contribute could give the impression that I doubted their ability to do different parts of the project, but honestly I just wanted this group project to start off better than others have in the past–I wanted it to be different.  I wanted to make it easy for everyone to communicate, collaborate, and contribute to the project.  By no means do I want to do this entire project by myself.  I know what it’s like to be excluded from projects when people reject the notion of group work and blaze through it by themselves–leaving zero opportunities for others to contribute.  I just thought the project would be easier to build on after something was set up to work on versus every component starting from blank.


Group Work

Working in groups is probably one of the most common complaints you hear from college students. Whether you are in a group with the slackers or whether you are the slacker and don’t know what is going on, group work can be a struggle. This makes sense because you are being forced to combine your ideas, time, and work to create a project that expresses each member individually as well as the group as a whole. Every student in your group is so very different which makes collaboration hard. However, group work is an excellent source of preparation for the “real world” or a professional environment because of that.

Working with a group can be better than solo work in many ways. You are able to get different opinions and creativity, you have people checking your work, you learn from everyone else, and you hopefully have a little bit more fun. However, sometimes the negatives of a group project can outweigh these things. For example, work may not be evenly distributed in the group. Group members often have very different visions for the project and they may have trouble agreeing on what should be done. Rarely does each group member put in the same effort. Also, groups have difficulty all meeting up at the same time and efficiently getting work done when they are together.

In my group that I am working with now, we have experienced a few of these. In comparison, I think this is one of the better groups I have ever worked with. We all seem to be doing our share, inputting our ideas, enjoying our topic, and having fun while we do it. However, we have had some struggles with communication. We are using a Google group and at first I think many of us were confused by it, which caused for poor communication. We have gotten better at assigning people jobs directly, but we still need to work on that a bit to reduce confusion and increase efficiency. Our other main problem is how we each have a different vision of what the end product of this project should look like. Even though we differ in these areas, we are all still very willing to work to make an A.

Group Benefits and Costs

Working in a group is one of the most interesting topics when it comes to academics in college.  People either fall on one side or the other, I have not heard of anyone who has mixed feelings on group work.  This is almost always because of personal experiences that they have had in different courses.  Having one negative experience is often enough to cause students to despise working in groups.

Group projects can be very good because it makes it much easier for ideas to be bounced around, changed and finalized.  Having multiple people working on the same thing helps because students have different abilities and are able to bring their knowledge and combine it with that of others in the group.  When everyone is on the same page, the work can be easily split up and completed.  In addition, when you communicate well, it makes it easy to ask questions and get help from the others in your group.

The downside of group work is often that at least one student does not care about their grade and this can cause the whole project to crumble.  Some professors do not include an accountability aspect to the project and when one student slacks, the grades of all the other individuals suffer.  This is difficult because sometimes a few students are trying to bump their grade up if they are borderline and the rest are content staying where they are.  This variance in attitude affects how much work each person puts into the project and thus the final grade.

I have actually had good experiences with group work in college and have enjoyed collaborating with other students to get work done.  From my time in engineering till I switched with math, I have been in good groups where the students cared about completing the work well and on time.  In addition, group work is huge for me when it comes to doing homework and studying for exams.  Having a couple other people to talk to helps a lot and makes it much easier to understand the material. 

When everyone in the group is motivated, group work is very beneficial and can help each member learn even more than if the worked on their own. The older you get, the more mature students are which makes working on group projects easier and less stressful due to lazy members.  From my experience thus far, I have enjoyed group projects.


Work experience for me has been a real pain in the past. This was more or less the case for middle school and high school. I have experienced a lot of bad scenario’s where the other person(s) don’t know what they’re doing and it normally results in me doing all the work. Ironically enough, I shall not lie, there have also been one or two cases where the tables were turned and group worked saved me.

For college though, everything seems different when it comes to group work. No one’s messing around like they were in high school. More or less probably because college is an option, and high school is something that’s required for you to go to. People can go to high school and end up not liking it big time, therefore they goof off and do other bad stuff like not focus on their academics.  In college, though, everyone’s in it for the grades and everyone cares about how an assignment goes. You will rarely find people who don’t participate, probably because people enjoy it more as it becomes so rare to find in this environment and solo work becomes ever so boring.

For some reason the idea always seems to be that working in a group will enlighten other students in it and everyone benefits from teamwork. When really, most students can see it as the grade they earn being shared with other students in the end, regardless of the weight everyone put into the project. Other people can also see it as easy street, and possibly even think of it as just receiving a grade that doesn’t reflect their knowledge of the subject at all. This can be problematic for the people in the group because people may not actually be learning things but get graded well and vice versa for people who know the material well but get a poor grade from lack of cooperation from others.

Group Work Dynamics

Group work can be a positive or a negative experience. In order for group work to be successful there are key aspects that must be accomplished. There has to be communication, responsibility of each member, a schedule, and a time frame. Members of the group each have to put in effort for these aspects to be achieved. For example, members need to be able to talk to each other and share ideas without being judged by one another. Also, each individual needs to take responsibility for his/her work that is due a certain time. I believe that having a schedule with due dates and meeting times is always helpful with planning and organization.

On the down side of group work, a few things are known to go wrong. Such as, some members may not always be to make a certain meeting time with messes up the groups work schedule because now that member is behind in his/her work. In another case, a member might not turn in his/her work on time so points may schedule deducted from the final assignment. Finally, those members who just don’t do anything and their work is left to the other members to complete because they do not want to receive a bad grade. 

In my experience with group work, I have had mostly bad ones. In English 103 I was put into a three person group. One other member and I basically did our entire final project because the other member decided to take a vacation the weekend before the project was due. With another project, one of the members did her section completely wrong and she was out of town so we all had to redo her part for her. For the Final Project, I believe that things are going well with our group work dynamic. We are all honest with one another about our ideas and concerns. We also have been able to communicate easily through our Google document. 


The Positive and Negative Dynamics of Group Work




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Group work is one of the more difficult aspects of school and of the working world, but as we all know group work is inevitable.  The idea of group work is to combine several minds together on a common goal because, as they say, two brains are better than one.  The problem that I typically experience in group work is that you usually are working with people with different work ethics, different levels of motivation or apathy, and many different ideas. 

Group work typically ends up in an uneven division of work and effort; this can happen for different reasons.  There are the groups in which no one seems to care or understand the subject matter and so in those situations one person, typically myself, will end up doing most, if not all, of the work. In this situation, the reason I would prefer to do most of the work is because I have a hard time trusting my grade with a group of people who don’t seem to care.  In addition, I find it hard to gather a group together to do work when a majority of the group is disinterested so the easiest way out of this situation is to sit down for a few hours and complete the project myself.  While I don’t believe it is fair for the other members of my group to receive a good grade for all my hard work, I find that this is the better option than allowing my grade to suffer due to the carelessness of others.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I sometimes find myself in groups in which many members are dedicated to working on the project, but the members of the group all feel strongly about their own ideas.  These situations tend to be more frustrating than the previous scenario because now emotions come into play whereas before the work was isolated and independent.  No one like to hear that their idea isn’t good enough, and it is often hard to communicate why you may disagree with someone else or why you believe your idea may be a better option.  In these situations many frustrations come into play because of poor communication skills whether it is the inability to effectively communicate your own idea or the inability to accept constructive criticism.

I am fortunate that the members of my group now are all very motivated to do their fair share of work, but I find that sometimes we struggle to allocate the work evenly.  I feel that in this particular group we are very fortunate that we are all willing to do our part, and we are all motivated to get an A on the project.  Therefore, because of our particular dynamic, I feel as though the work should be evenly allocated to everyone, and as long as we all communicate well then we can all be sure that the quality of the work done is up to our own standards.

Group dynamic

Working in a group whether it is for school or in a career setting presents multiple problems. I feel that one could argue that the biggest problem would be making sure that everyone equally inputs the same amount of workload as fellow group members. However, I feel the that this rarely is the problem because usually the group tends to check and balance itself. I feel the main problem associated with group work is communication. We have several means of communications today ranging from cell phone texting, email, direct calling, or working through instant message. Email prevents a problem because not everyone checks their email at the same time and when sending time sensitive information this can be a problem because some may receive the message later than others. On the other hand email does work positively in sending out information when direct meeting is difficult. The main problem with email for me when i’ve worked in group situations is that most people rarely know how to send an email correctly. Email for me is designed to be a quick reference or guide as to what to do or how to act towards a certain problem. The emails i’ve gotten while group work usually have been lengthy text that rarely address what the subject is trying to convey. On the opposite side sometimes email from some users is very unprofessional, almost as if you were receiving a text from them with several misspelled words, or incorrect formatting. However I feel most of these problems can be addressed pretty easily with a well directed group meeting, I feel with the several means of communication available to us today like multiple video chats, email, texting, instant messaging and more it seems hard to have such a problem affect group dynamic.

Group Work at its Worst

There are many challenges that come up when working in a group. That most common challenge in my opinion is the lack of accountability. It is common because in every group, the common denominator is various personalities, work ethics, priorities, and skill sets. Teamwork requires everyone to be active in some type of way, whether it is being vocal and communicating or doing the actual work. Every member in the group ultimately most have the same outlook for the conclusion. Therefore, priorities must be obtained early within the group. Skills-sets vary in groups so it has to be an understanding of whom you are working with. It’s important to recognize everyone strong suit and pick up the slack collectively.

Another flaw of working in a group is leadership. There are many times when members depend on others to do work or they wait until someone tells them what to do. It’s a tragic feeling when the leader does not show up and everyone is lost because that person was doing all the work. One member down should not mean everybody down. That is not leading. That is simply doing what you have to do pass the project. Leaders must motivate.

There are times where groups have different interest and cannot compromise. If members have too many opinions and everybody is promoting their own ideals, there is not any unity. This creates a political type environment where there are debates when it should be some agreements.

I have personally experience both good and bad group work. I have also been on both side of doing all the work and doing nearly nothing. From my experience, I have learnt that the only way it is beneficial to every group member is if everyone take responsibility of a task.

The only way to handle a bad situation is to communicate. Communication is key in any type of relationship. When your group can talk and view everything the same the workload is easier.  The benefits of communicating; efficiency, more ideas, more input, accuracy of work, and overall better understanding. There’s no “I” in the word “team”.

Dreadful Group Work

It is rather ironic that a few bad group experiences have truly ruined my opinion of group work in general.  Maybe after I explain the most ridiculous experience I have had with group work, others will understand why I dislike it so vigorously.

It happened last year in one of my freshman engineering courses.  In the course, we were required to create a program in a group as a final project.  This project required a good deal of time to be spent within a lab setting.  While in the lab, we were supposed to record data that would be used to create our program.  This is where I ran into my first issue with group work: Communication.  The professor required us to have at least two members of our group present prior to any lab work.  He had scheduled class time to be spent in lab.  Unfortunately, neither of my group mates showed up the first day we needed to collect data.  I notified the professor and then sent both of them an email.  My group mates failed to respond and also failed to show up to the next class.  I notified my professor once again and sent yet another email to my partners.  On the final day we were allowed to be in the lab, a single one of my partners showed up.  We collected the data and I coded a large section of our program.  I then gave my partner instructions on how to finish the first part of our project which was due by the end of the weekend.  All he had to do was copy and paste sections that I had already completed and then change a few variables to reflect a spreadsheet which contained our data.  That weekend, I had plans to return home for the first time in 6 months so I entrusted my group partner to finish the coding I set up for him.  This brought about the second issue I have with group work: reliability.  He completed the coding and turned it in without ever checking to see if his part actually ran.  It didn’t.  We got a 50 on a large portion of our project.  When I received the grade back, I checked the program to see where we had lost points and where we had received them.  Every single point that we received was directly related to the section of code that I had written.  I notified my instructor once again on the issues I was facing.  He kindly ignored me.  Meanwhile, my other partner was still MIA.  We were then given a second portion of our project that built off the top of the first section.  Since I knew I couldn’t trust my partner to code anymore, I rewrote his entire first section and then finished the second part as well.  I turned it in and earned a high A for the second part.  Finally, there was a third section which I also completed by myself.  After doing so, I talked to my professor once again to express my disapproval of my partners’ actions and also how he had handled the situation.  In response, he placed the blame upon me for not telling him soon enough so that he could place me in another group.  This pissed me off to a new level of rage, but my anger would only grow.  My professor added salt to my wound by giving my two group mates the same grades as me for the project.  This brings me to my third and final issue with group projects: work distribution.  Sometimes people get grades they simply do not deserve when groups are utilized.

Even though I had this terrible experience, I still understand that there are a variety of positives to group work as well.  They can really help to make a good project outstanding.  Since that occurrence, I have had a couple of awesome groups that were extremely helpful and insightful.  Sadly though, I still can’t seem to shake the bad taste in my mouth from my past experiences.  Luckily, I know that those experiences made me a stronger person and much more prepared to work in groups in my occupation after college. 

Pros & Cons of Group Work

With basically everything, there are positives and negatives, but being able to work in a group is a skill that everybody should be able to have. You will have the opportunity or even be forced to work in groups throughout your life, so getting experience in a group is always good. There may be some obstacles along the way, but if a group is truly working together at its full potential, it will be more efficient than a single person.

There are many pros to working in a group. This project has finally given me a reason to use a Google doc. and it has shown me how fast work can be done with other group members working on different parts of the same document. Usually, while writing a paper, I scroll down to see how much more of a page is left until the page is complete, but when I went to do this in the Google doc. nearly the entire page was done, while I typed up a paragraph. Another positive is that there are many different ideas that can fill the flaws in one of your ideas if you have any. An idea that someone might have might sound amazing to them, but in reality because of their bias the idea could be confusing and lacking. One of the biggest positives that I can think of is that there is nearly always someone to fall back on if you miss something. For example, if one person, two people, or nearly everyone except one person in a group forgets something, there will hopefully be atleast one person that can fix the problem.

The cons that come with working in a group are there too. Since there are so many individuals and ideas, there can be conflicting ideas on how something should be, whether it is the formatting of something to what happens in a video. Someone may be set on using their idea for something, but if it gets overruled by the group, it won’t be used. Also, everybody has a different style and voice in there writing too, so when multiple people write different segments of one document, the flow of the work becomes clunky.

These are the ups and downs with working in a group. There are many more pros and cons I’m sure, but currently have not come to my attention. So far working in the group, mostly everything has gone smoothly and there haven’t been any problems. If problems do arise, communication is the key and I’m sure that we can work things out if we have to.