Blog 5: Teamwork
As almost everyone so far has remarked, group projects are typically the bane of a student’s existence. In all my years of schooling, I think I have only had a single other group project that I did not loathe. I have very high standards for the work that I put forth, and when the standards of my other team members do not match my own (as I have almost always found to be the case), I usually just end up doing all the work on the project. However, in this project, I was impressed by my fellow team members’ initiative, dedication, and desire to produce high-quality work. We all had very ambitious goals for our performance on the projects and in the class overall, which was became evident in our efforts to work together as a team towards achieving a common goal. I think this partly stems from the fact that everyone in my team came from a group of upper-level college students – by this point in our academic careers, most of the individuals who did not have the ambition to succeed and the drive to work hard in their studies have been weeded out, and those of us that are left have a lot riding on our performance in the final classes of our undergraduate careers.
What I enjoyed about this experience was the opportunity to work with peers that were creative, motivated, and willing to work hard to create really great work, especially with our final presentation. When we met, everyone was very open to exploring ideas, making a thorough analysis of our work, and pushing ourselves to the next level to create a presentation and portfolio that truly represented the best of our knowledge and abilities. In my opinion, I think we came up with a proposal that would be very beneficial and practical if enacted in reality. Our group worked well together and we had very few problems. I can honestly say this was the best group project experience I have ever had.
The only real problem we ran into was, as my fellow team members have mentioned, the difficulty of coordinating our schedules to find times that all of us could meet for long enough to be productive. However, we were able to make use of email as well as divide up the work so that we could make the most of our time, and so the meetings we had were extremely productive and we were able to accomplish a lot in those times. If I had to do this project again, I would probably try to either meet in person more often, or utilize something like Skype or virtual meetings to be able to make a greater use of group interaction to develop our ideas, especially early on in project development. With this kind of work, it can be all too easy to just divvy up the work and have each person take on a small part, and then put it all together at the end; however, group projects really benefit from having brainstorming sessions that incorporate contributions from the all the members, and this type of interaction ensures that all members are following a common theme and the final project is cohesive. I think our final proposal was much better than our mapping project because, for one thing, we all knew each other better and were more comfortable working together at that point, and, because of that, we met in person much more and used those sessions to develop ideas and ensure that we were all working towards the same goal, and that each of our individual parts reflected that. Our group dynamics naturally changed much over the course of the semester, but I really enjoyed working with the rest of the Community Cats in this class and I am very happy with the overall experience.