By Student Fellows Cathy Zhou and Elizabeth Locke
As we all know, having all kinds of group projects in our college life is an inevitable experience. Group projects have advantages and disadvantages. In this session, we brought up different perspectives about group work and had a conversation with faculty about their perceptions of students working in groups.
To warm up, we started by asking them reasons why they decide to use group work or projects and how often they have students work in groups. Then we shared our stories as we had interviewed our friends about their likes and dislikes about group projects. Some of the common feedback we got was pro: students are able to share ideas between one another and meet new people, and con: one student may end up doing all the work rather than properly distributing the material.
After that, we table groups discussed the following questions:
1. What is not viable or workable in group projects in your specific setting?
a. Some classes do not call for group work and are largely individual, which makes
group work not reasonable for the duration of the semester.
2. What feedback have you received from students about group projects that have made you
adjust an assignment?
a. Sometimes the scope of the assignment is changed and some tweaks may be made
such as certain goals or even the number of people in a group.
3. Do you prefer smaller scope of group work or a larger overarching group project? Why?
a. One piece of feedback we got was that this decision often depends on the material
of the class as well as the amount of professor involvement they want in the
4. How do you determine how much group work is done in class and outside of class?
a. This also depends on the time the professor has and the amount of course material
required to cover. Some projects may raise a lot of questions for students while
others are largely independent assignments.
And finally, we ended up with a closing question for them: As students, we don’t have your perspective. What do you wish students knew about group work or group projects? So now we not only have their opinions/perspectives as professors on what they think about group
projects, but also they have our ideas as students.