Ok, enough ranting. Here are some tips on how to survive these painful group projects while avoiding the aforementioned situations ultimately coming out of the experience with an "A" next to your name in the grade book!
- Planning ahead is so key for group projects. Don't ever leave a group project for the last minute. Although you may be able to pull off a last minute project on your own, you can't be sure that the others in the group are able to do the same. When you first get the assignment, make sure to look over it as a group and begin to brainstorming. Figure out the direction in which you all want to take your project from the get go.
- Assign each member a specific job for the assignment. All of the work that needs to be done should be divided evenly. Don't be the one to do the entire project for the group (guilty) and definitely don't be the one who leaves slack for the others to pick up. It's all about everyone carrying their own weight.
Don't be that person.
- Set deadlines and check in points for the group. It often helps to have a deadline in mind to keep you continuing with the work you're doing, as opposed to procrastinating. Make strides on the project little by little and the task will seem less daunting. Depending on the amount of time between the day the project was assigned and the day it is due, establish one or two dates to meet with the group as a whole to check in.
- If your schedules are all crazy and you truly cannot find a time to congregate, Google Docs is a great option. As long as all the members have Gmail accounts, each person can create a document with all of their work in it to share with the other members. This way, you can keep updated (literally to the second!) on the work that the others are doing. If you have any suggestions or comments, they can easily be shared through Google Docs.
- Regardless of whether you opt to use Google Docs to communicate or whether you can pull off a meeting or two before the due date of the project, I highly suggest a meeting to make final changes and review the finished project before it is handed in. Being physically together makes the process much easier.
- If the project is to be presented to a class, teacher, or other group of people, its important to rehearse the presentation! Make sure that each member of your group has a specific part of your work to discuss and elaborate on. This too should be divided as evenly as possible between members. Public speaking is a hard task, so make the process easier by all being on the same page.
- Present and/or hand in the project and get that "A", ladies!