How To Work Collaboratively On Group Projects

Whether you cringe over hearing the words or can’t wait to share the workload with others, group projects are unavoidable.

Sometimes professors allow you to choose your own group members and sometimes they are assigned to you. Regardless, it’s important that you work together within your group to produce a project that you are proud of.

Here are some pointers on how to successfully work in a collaborative group:

  • Meet Right After Class: You may have the tendency to leave class right away after groups are assigned and take care of meeting “later,” but this is just prolonging the inevitable. Right after class, gather up all of your group mates and talk about how you want to dive into your project. This doesn’t have to be the time that you actually start working on your material but this should be at least when you set up your first meeting time or at the very least introduce yourselves.
  • Get Each Other’s Phone Numbers: Don’t rely on email or just everyone showing up at the agreed upon meeting time. You leave room for too many excuses when you rely on email. Everyone should exchange phone numbers and be willing and available to call or text each other if need be.
  • Split Up the Work Evenly: It may seem obvious to even have to say this, but actually it’s not such an easy task. It may seem logical to give each four person member one section of a four-piece project but it may not unfold so evenly. Get together with your group and make an outline of each section. If you find that one section is going to have much more information to cover then others, dividing up responsibilities will have to be adjusted.
  • Make Sure Everyone Understands the Material: If you are working on a project that requires everyone to work on the project together as a whole, make sure everyone in your group is understanding what everyone else is doing too. Many times, one person lags behind, so make sure that everyone is actively involved. Most likely your professor will ask each group member about your project and it will make everyone look bad if one person can’t give an educated, confident answer.
  • Coordinate the Style of Your Project: Any time you put a group of people together you’re going to get different writing, researching, and creative styles. Even though you are all doing your own parts they are all going to eventually come together in the end. Professors want your project to look unified and not like a bunch of parts taped together. They want to see that you worked together. Make sure all your slides, if you are doing a Power Point, use the same font and colors, your font and alignment is the same if you are handing in a paper, and any other parts of your presentation all have the same theme.
  • Make Sure to Brief Before You Present: If you are presenting your finished project, whether you split up the workload or have worked on the project as a whole, it’s important to do a quick run through before class. Make sure everyone is familiar with everyone else’s part and everyone knows what he or she will be discussing in front of the class, and in what order.

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Lisa Manente

Lisa Manente

Lisa Manente is a senior at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. She will be graduating with the BA in Media Studies and Communications in May. Editing the Entertainment section for her university’s newspaper and magazine has fueled her passion for entertainment journalism, which is the career path she plans to explore. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, listening to music, and catching up on celebrity gossip.