One of the things you will inevitably find yourself doing in University is group projects and presentations. In this blog you will find all the best ways to handle working with your fellow students, including the four basic stages of a group project, and some tools to make your life easier.

 

Stage One: Familiarisation

In this stage you should get to know the individual members of your group. Try to familiarise yourself with their various strengths and weaknesses, as well as the task at hand.

During this time you should think about the project itself, what the time frame is, and the way it will be assessed so that you can plan accordingly.

 

Stage Two: Planning and Preparation

At this point you and your group should start to plan exactly what needs to be done and how to do it. This will involve discussion on the topic, what research needs to be done, what writing, what speaking, and who will do what.

You should break down and divide the project amongst the group, try to pay attention to the strengths and weaknesses you have discussed before hand.

Finally, make an action plan detailing all of the above, preferably with a timeline that everyone has to meet. Pay attention to the tools I will list at the end, as these can help you with the project.

 

Stage Three: Implementation

This is both the most important, and the hardest stage to complete. In order to do so it is vital that you preserve your groups sense of purpose. Keep in contact with each other, especially if the project runs over time. I have included a number of tools after the Stages Section which will help you and your group to keep abreast of what stage each member is at, as well as a number of ways to keep in contact.

One of the hardest things you will have to do, but one that is necessary, is having and recording group meetings. At each of the meetings make sure to record not only what you discussed and where you’re going from there, but also who turns up to the meetings and who is actually getting the work done. If someone is not pulling their weight, make sure to note it down and possibly discuss it with your tutor.

 

Stage Four: Completion

This stage is possibly just as difficult as the last. You will have to pay close attention to detail, tie up any loose ends and make sure to go over the whole project so that you can all be sure it ties in well together.

 

Tools:

  • Email
  • Skype/Appear.In/Google Hangouts
  • Google Docs/Sheets/Sides
  • Trello
  • Slack

 

Email

This is good not only for keeping in contact with each other about progress and sharing documents, but also for record keeping in regards to participation.

 

Skype/Appear.In/Google Hangouts

All of the above are good options for having group discussions regardless of where everyone is based. If it is inconvenient to all meet in one place, instead open a video chat with your entire group. With these tools you will be able to easily meet and discuss your project and what you are each doing with regularity.

 

Google Docs/Sheets/Slides

Dependent on whether your project is written, oral, or both; these tools will make your life infinitely easier when working together. If each of you have a google account, you will all be able to work on and edit one document between all of you.

You will each be able to write and see the edits others of your group have made, which you can then agree to or comment about what you have done and why.

 

Trello

This tool is very good for project management. It is free to use, and will allow you all to create a project pipeline/board. I recommend you have a basic pipeline setup: To Do This Week, To Do Today, Ready, Approved, Done. In each of these create tasks which you assign to group members. It updates real time when someone makes changes, so you can see where everyone is at in a project.

 

Slack

This final tool is great if you all set up a specific time to be working. You can either have it open in your window browser, or download to desktop. Either way, you can see who is online as well as send documents, have two way calls and chat with each other easily about what you are doing and what still needs to be done. It is also free to use, just go to the pricing section and click the free option.

 

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