At the end of semester one, I did a group presentation in one of my modules as a mode of assessment. At first, I was apprehensive and rather nervous, but we were all so pleased with how it went; we definitely mastered how to complete a group project with minimum stress or setbacks! So, on that note, here are some top tips to survive (and succeed in) completing a group project!
Communication is key
As soon as you find out who’s in your group, make contact with them as soon as possible. We found that it was useful to create a WhatsApp chat, and in there we arranged meetings and shared ideas and useful links or resources for our project. If you’re quick to make contact and you communicate regularly, it keeps everything running smoothly and prevents any last-minute rushes to get the work done. It’s also a good idea to find a good day and time that suits all of you so you can organise regular online meetings, and build these into your routine and schedule.
Use Google Documents and Google Slides
Using Google Documents (which is like Word) and Google Slides (which is like PowerPoint) allows everybody in your group to access and edit documents at the same time. They are great to use at your meetings to keep a record of your ideas, thoughts, and roles, but it’s equally as useful when you’re doing some independent work so then the rest of the group can see what you’ve done. We found it worked well to use Google Documents to brainstorm and keep track of ideas and assign roles. Then, once we had detailed notes, we used Google Slides to produce a PowerPoint for our presentation.
Get in touch with your lecturer if there are any issues
Whilst you’d like to think everyone will pull their weight and put in a good amount of effort and commitment, it’s worth knowing your lecturer is always on hand to help if things aren’t running smoothly. If there are issues that cannot be resolved as a group, or issues caused by somebody in the group, make sure you talk to your lecturer about it. Lecturers want group work to be a success, and they’ll always try to help resolve things discreetly.
Divide the work wisely (but not too much!)
Our lecturer gave us some great advice when she told us it might be useful to divide the work within the group project, but we had to be careful in doing so. She explained that dividing the work could mean that each person had a detailed understanding of what they were saying, but a limited understanding of what other people in the group had researched which makes the presentation look too “broken up”. This results in the presentation sounding like a series of mini presentations, rather than a presentation that has had multiple contributors and collaboration. We found the best way to avoid this was to brainstorm ideas all together first, and then we split our presentation into three points / sections. Since there were six of us in a group, we split into pairs to focus on each section. Once we had drafted our part of the presentation, we each explained our section to the rest of the group and offered them the chance to add any ideas they had or ask any questions. This ensured everybody understood the entirety of the presentation, rather than just their part.
Welcome and accept constructive criticism
You’ll be in a group with people that have different skills and talents, so make the most of sharing your knowledge with one another! I really benefited from welcoming feedback from the rest of the group – it’s always good to hear new perspectives and opinions as it can help you to see things differently or in another way that really improves your work. Not only does it help you personally, but any improvements to the presentation or research may even lead to a few more marks!