As a communication major, one of the requirements to graduate is to take a small group in communications class. When I first saw this class was required, I talked it down as a class that focuses on the concepts of smaller groups. My brain shut out any thoughts of this having an actual group work assignment. Turns out, not only is there a book that looks deeper into the concepts of a small group, but it is in fact about working in a group. Translate that to doing another group paper.
Something you should never bring up around me is working in groups. At least when it comes to school work groups. I can get on board with work groups. That makes sense to me. At work, we share a common goal, and we get paid to complete that goal. In college, we pay the school to be stressed about the assignment, and only hope that everyone in the group cares enough to get an A on the assignment.
If you're wondering what the big deal is about group work, let me share a few things that really shoots my anxiety through the roof.
Communication with people you barely know is really hard to navigate. Online classes seem to be even more difficult in getting everyone on board with how to communicate together. Sure there are plenty of apps that make it easier to communicate, but some people either don't know how to use the apps, or refuse to download them. It's also hard to get people to respond back in a timely manner. If a paper is due in 2 weeks, there are a lot of steps to get the final part completed. And, it has to flow just right. But a face-to-face class can have the same obstacles. Even though you see these people for roughly 3 hours a week, it's still hard to get them to work in communicating a plan.
What do you do when someone ignores all communication until the last minute? I understand that the Professor's usually have an evaluation at the end of the project, but unless that person didn't do their part, you can't really say much about them not doing their part. Everyone works at different speeds. I'm the type of person that looks at the syllabus and wants to work on it right away. I lose sleep over this stuff until it's behind me. It doesn't seem fair to have to wait on that person to do their part last minute. Or leave the rest of the group feeling like they have to write up that person's part just in case they bail out.
Something else that adds a good amount of stress is the fact that we're graded as a whole. We're expected to pick a topic, decide what each person works on, proof read the draft of every part so it flows nicely, and submit for an overall group grade. I know there are so many people that get a lower grade in a class because of group work. It doesn't seem fair to mess up someone's GPA from a group assignment. For the most part, our degree is obtained on an individual level. I can deal with a poor grade that I got myself, when it involves a group, just the effort should be an A.
If I haven't raised your anxiety enough from reading this, just continue to think on the topic, or go back in your memory to a time that you had to work on a school group assignment. I've yet to meet a person that loves working on group assignments. The only thing that gets me through these assignments is the thought that eventually this assignment and class will be behind me.
Luckily this class is only 5 weeks. Feel free to share your nightmare stories about a time you had to do group work.