Com 101 fall 2009
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COM 101 Fall 2009. Group Projects Tips & Recommendations for Students Prepared by Michelle Serafino . Group Projects – How to get Started. Get to Know Your Group Members Most of the time, students are assigned to groups with other students they don’t know: Introduce yourself

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COM 101 Fall 2009

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COM 101 Fall 2009

Group Projects

Tips & Recommendations for Students

Prepared by Michelle Serafino

Group Projects – How to get Started

  • Get to Know Your Group Members

  • Most of the time, students are assigned to groups with other students they don’t know:

    • Introduce yourself

    • Make sure everyone is included in discussions

    • Exchange contact information (cell phone numbers, e-mail, etc.)

Group Projects – How to Get Started

Set Guidelines for Meetings & Attendance

  • Create a Team Charter which includes:

    • Team goals & objectives

    • How each member will equally communicate

    • Logistics of meetings (where, when, for how long, etc.)

    • Consequences for team members if they don’t contribute, attend meetings, etc.

    • How conflict will be addressed and resolved

  • Pick scheduled times where everyone can attend a meeting to cover critical points to the project

  • Each team member should be as flexible as possible

  • Consider alternative to face-to-face meetings for some of the time: conference calls, e-mail, chat rooms, etc.)

Group Projects – How to Get Started

Consider Choosing a Group leader/Facilitator

  • Group facilitators make sure that the group stays on agenda and that everyone has input and is involved

  • Facilitators should be assertive, but tactful and be able to address the group if the meeting is not going forward as planned

  • Consider having each group member take an opportunity to be a facilitator

Group Projects – How to Get Started

Delegate Responsibilities to Group Members

  • Determine the strengths of everyone in the group to divide up responsibilities – who is good at writing, who is good at Power Point?

  • Remember – you will still need to work together, but dividing responsibilities helps tasks get done quicker and more efficiently.

  • Set deadlines for each group member – this sets clear boundaries and helps to prevent stress by not leaving everything to the last minute.

Group Projects – How to Get Started

Contribute & Participate…but Don’t Monopolize

  • Everyone needs a chance to have their voice and ideas heard

  • No one person has all the best ideas or “right” ideas

  • If someone seems to be monopolizing a meeting, speak up and address it.

  • If the behavior persist, discuss the situation with your instructor

Group Projects – How to Get Started

Maintain Respect for Group Members

  • Communication is the key to working together effectively

  • If you find that you have differing opinions or viewpoints with another group member, remember that it is ok to “agree to disagree” ,but there will still need to be a compromise

  • Voice your concerns, but never be rude

  • Maintain a positive outlook toward your group

Group Projects – Types of Group Members

  • This is usually the group’s worst nightmare. These group members drag the group down, cause resentment and usually the group feels that this member doesn’t deserve to receive the same grade as the rest of the group, who worked hard.

  • How to handle a slacker:

  • Be firm – confrontation is hard, but necessary

  • Let the Slacker know the group is overburdened and needs him/her to pitch in more

  • If things don’t improve, discuss with the instructor

The Slacker:

Group Projects – Types of Group Members

The Busy Group Member:

  • All group members are likely busy, but this overly busy type of group member can cause the group to not be successful unless you meet their accommodations. This can lead to feelings of resentment if the accommodations seem excessive, so the group will need to work together to create accommodations they can all agree on.

  • How to handle a busy group member:

  • Have Less face-to-face meetings,

  • Assign them tasks that can be done at their convenience

Group Projects – Types of Group Members

  • Some group members see the meeting times as social hours. While it is ok to socialize a bit, there is a problem if the chatty group member is steering the other group members off track.

  • How to handle a chatty group member:

  • If necessary, address the chatty member and remind them that the group needs to stay on track

  • Suggest that the group does a social outing after the meeting

  • If the problem doesn’t’ improve, have all of the other group members do a group confrontation that is tactful, of course. There is sometimes more impact if the whole group communicates the same message.

The Chatty Group Member:

Group Projects – Types of Group Members

  • There are some people who always insist on having things their way. Unfortunately the reality is that this is not possible, so when there is a bossy group member, conflict can likely arise. These members often find collaborating with others difficult as they do not want to collaborate.

  • How to handle a bossy group member:

  • Try some friendly, but direct negotiation

  • Communicate to this member what the rest of the group doesn’t agree with and offer some compromises that allows everyone to have some of what they want.

  • Remember – some people who come across as bossy, don’t realize this.

  • If the member refuses to negotiate, then this is not acceptable and you need to discuss with the instructor.

The Bossy Group Member:

Group Projects – Resolving Conflict

Keep in mind that learning to deal with these situations will be important in both your college years and in the working world.

While these experiences may not be pleasant, they are giving you information that you can apply in the future where you will inevitably be faced with some sort of conflict.

Almost all career choices will require collaboration with others, team work, cooperation and the ability to compromise.

Resources (2009). Group Projects in College. Retrieved July 10, 2009 from (2009). How to Deal with Difficult Group Project Members - College Student Strategies for Working with Slackers and Chatters. Rockler-Gladen, N. (2009). Retrieved July 10, 2009 from

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