Learning in Your Library Leads to Success

Group Working

Nearly every course in the college will require you to participate in group work at one stage or another. You may be asked to make a poster, a presentation, a speech or many other pieces of work that require you to collaborate with your fellow students.
You could be working with between 1 and 5 other students. You may be allowed to choose who you work with or it may be chosen by your tutor.
Some subjects will give you an individual mark for group work while some tutors may give everyone a shared mark. Some subjects may even use peer assessment, where each group member tells the tutor what mark they think each person in their group deserves and the tutor works out if that is fair. It is important for you to clarify these details with your tutor before you start your work as if you are given an individual mark, you may need to show your tutor which parts of the project you worked on alone.

Remember that different people have different strengths and weaknesses so it is an important part of group work to play to people’s strengths and to work together on any shared weaknesses you have. Below are some tips to start you off, but for more information, consult the Guide to Successful Group Work:

  • Divide out the work you have to do as evenly as possible.
  • Write down what you have decided as a group.
  • Set realistic deadlines and be honest if you have other commitments that may mean you need a little longer to finish a task
  • Allow yourself and others to have their voice heard. There will always be a few people who dominate the discussion. It is important that if you are that person that you allow others to speak. If you notice your teammate doing it, then politely suggest that they should listen to someone else’s ideas for a while.
  • If someone isn’t pulling their weight, address it as a group. Discuss the matter calmly, without assigning blame. Don’t get angry or confrontational. It may be that something cropped up at the last minute or that they don’t fully understand what the group has asked them to do. If it continues to be a problem, seek advice from your tutor.
  • Make use of the technology available to you. You may wish to set up a drop box for everyone to pass work between other group members. Your tutor may have set up a forum on Learnzone for you to talk to each other if you can’t meet up. Organising group work with handwritten paper notes can be a little tricky, so make the job as easy for yourselves as possible.
  • If you’re working with someone you don’t get along with, it can be frustrating. However, it is something that may happen in the working world and you will not be able to switch groups in most cases. If you stick to the points above, and make sure that every member of the group knows what is expected of them, then everything should run smoothly.

Contact Hannah for more information.