Whether you love it or hate it, group work is an unavoidable part of the university experience. Assignments can be challenging at the best of times. Thankfully, group work can be done successfully provided you adhere to some important ground rules. The university’s Academic Learning Support team advises that the three keys to learning success are to manage your time, be proactive, and set up a support network. The following tips will help you smash out your group assignments.
Be transparent about responsibilities and accountabilities
It is really important to be transparent about individual responsibilities. Open communication to allocate specific tasks can keep the whole group functioning and progressing. Everyone should know who is responsible for a certain element of the assignment. Accountability also includes clear and strict deadlines which all in the group are aware of. It helps to have these things written down on a shared platform like Microsoft Onenote, Planner or in OneDrive so it is easily visible and accessible.
Utilise online resources
As Newcastle Uni students we are lucky to have a wealth of online resources to facilitate group work:
- Utilise Microsoft Planner to plan and organise time, and see the status of work that has been done.
- Use OneDrive to easily store and share documents.
- Use Zoom and Microsoft Teams for online meetings.
- Microsoft Teams can also be used to collaborate with fellow students and staff, work from anywhere on any device, book meetings with peers, share files and work on the same document at the same time, track tasks and video call (you can even link Microsoft Planner and OneNote to a Teams group).
The above online resources are provided free, download the Microsoft365 suite today.
Regular communication is critical in group work, regardless of whether you are working exclusively online or not. Since you may not be able to catch up with your group after class at uni it is important to find new channels for communication. Make a group chat or create meetings in Teams, and keep your team-mates informed on how you are tracking.
Check-in with each other
Completing group work on top of other university assignments and commitments is a challenging time for most people. Whether you are working with new people or friends, it’s important to establish a supportive and considerate environment. While that is easier to do with people you are familiar with, it is just as important that you set the scene of respect with classmates you haven’t worked with before too. Regularly check in with each other, have some light-hearted non-uni related discussion, and adjust workloads if needed based on what everyone can handle.
Make it fun
Lastly, keep things fun! Themed Teams or Zoom meetings are always a hit. Fun themes include funky hats, ‘where you’d rather be’, and ugly shirts. Being able to laugh through the process makes it much more enjoyable and bearable. Find something which makes your group laugh and keep the good vibes going!
Feature image via Unplash