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Group Therapy: a group project survival guide

Tips and tricks for doing group coursework.

Teaching Teamwork to Engineers

Engineering has never been more competitive—emerging from the recession, engineering firms are leaner than ever and accustomed to achieving more with less, satisfying more demands from clients, and meeting shorter deadlines. What else can an already-lean company do to operate even more efficiently and gain a competitive edge?

The answer is team-building.

Amnong several important points highlighted in this article, two recommendations are worth considering:

A Group exercise to help you learn more about your team members

As you begin to form teams for your class projects, you may find out that your team consists of members from different cultures, countries, or races with diverse background.  In such situations, it is extremely important for you to learn more about each other so that you can develop an understanding  of  each others' strengths, weaknesses and academic needs.

Just write the introduction already!

Sometimes it's hard to be a good group member.

Why is it so hard to just write up your section of your group project? Sometimes you just can't bring yourself to write it!

This handy video explains why we procrastinate, and more importantly, it gives some great techniques to stop the cycle.

My favorite technique is setting a timer for homework time. I can focus on anything for 30 minutes at a time.


Groups Have Roles (are you ready for your closeup?)

For your group to work effectively and efficiently each member has a role to play.  Identify the roles needed to accomplish the assignment at hand.  Here are some customary roles you might consider.

Recorder:  Basically keeps track of decisions, ASSIGNMENTS, and due dates.  This person is the key communicator outside of face to face time—gathers everyone’s email and cell phone numbers.

Reporter:  When there's a blackboard, whiteboard or large pad it's very helpful for someone to put important points up.  This visual stimulus drives ideas and discussion

Distance Learning Tips for Online Group Work Success

In online courses, students are required to virtually participate in group projects with three to five students in their teams. Even in a face to face class, usually team members will need to collaborate in a virtual environment in order to share documents and exchange ideas . I came across a nice resource on how to successfully accomplish a group project in a virtual environment.

Some excerpts from this resource:

"Distance learning group work is often a challenging task for many online learners.

What is Teamwork? Characteristics of Effective Teams

A nice and informative resource, on teamwork and characteristics  that identify effective teams, is available from the Non Destructive Testing (NDT) Center at 'Teamwork in the Classroom'.

Oh No! Plagiarism!

Dear Group Work Guru,

I am freaking out. I am the editor of my team's group project and I am pretty sure that one of our group members plagiarized their section. What I am supposed to do now?

Help help help!

Freaked out Frosh

P.S. Help help help!

Dear Frosh,

I'm very sorry that this is happening to you.

Plagiarism is a very serious offense in universities. It's serious enough to get you expelled.

Other collaborative features in Refworks


RefShare  is a social networking tool. It provides RefWorks users with a quick and easy way to share their research information, share folders with or without attachments, and add comments and provide feedback on shared references. This will assist you in enhancing your collaborative research with your team members.

Using RefShare, you can make a list of citations from your RefWorks account public, either on the Drexel Shared Folders list, or via a URL that you can email, or post on a webpage.

Avenge group work!

We're just at the point in the quarter when your group has to pull it all together and finish your project. If you're still feeling a little rough around the edges, why not get your group together and have an outing to see the new Avengers movie?

Why The Avengers?

It's a great inspirational movie about a diverse group of superheros who manage, beyond great differences, to come together to become greater than the sum of their parts.

Inspiring quote

Here's some mid-term group work inspiration:

If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
- African proverb


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