Group work is one component of a successful organization, and, as a result, many professors see the benefit of group work in college classes. Students can learn to work together as a team, managing different skills and opinions while working toward a common goal. While this group work can benefit students as they enter the real world, it can also present some challenges when completing projects with their peers.
Understanding the skills of each member of your group is essential to your project's success. However, it can also be one of the biggest challenges when starting a new group project. In large college classes, you might not know your classmates, and your professor might assign the groups, meaning you're working with strangers. The anonymity of group members means you don't know who possesses what strengths, which can make it difficult to assign tasks for the project.
Distributing work equally is another challenge of group work in college. Inevitably, a group of students will include some ambitious students who want to go above and beyond the assignment and others who simply want to get by. Thus, the desire to work varies, and this can result in some members of the group doing more work than others. Finding a way to distribute the work equally is an essential component in a successful group project.
Working as a group poses a challenge because you have to consider a number of opinions when working on your project. For every group member, there could be a different opinion, which can make getting your project off the ground a struggle. Finding a way to give each group member an equal voice--and identifying compromises that incorporate as many ideas as possible, is essential. The more group members feel included, the more likely they will be to contribute to the project.
Once your group has settled on what each member will contribute, you have to deal with the logistics of completing the project. For example, if you're writing a group research paper, you will likely have multiple documents going at once, and it will be someone's responsibility to merge those documents into a coherent piece. In addition, if your group needs to meet regularly to complete your project, it can be challenging to find a time that works between everyone's class schedules, work schedules and extracurricular activities.
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