For group work to be successful, there have to be agreed upon rules, roles & deadlines – this is to ensure that everyone fairly contributes & works towards the same result.
Things you may want to consider at your first group meeting include, but aren’t limited to:
- General Group Etiquette
No cellphones, don’t interrupt someone when they’re speaking, always be respectful, arrive on time
- When To Meet
May be difficult but the group will benefit overall. However, don’t miss class in order to attend a group meeting.
- Where To Meet
Select a place that is accessible to all members, often campus is the best & easiest solution
- Keeping In Contact With Eachother
Other than the meetings, agree on an additional form of communication, eg email or Whatsapp group – something that everyone has access to
- A Realistic Schedule
Work backwards from the submission date so that you can identify important milestones, conflicting dates etc.
- Minute Your Meeting
This is common practice in the workplace and a good way to keep record of:
Who was present or absent, what was discussed, what was agreed upon, who was assigned what task.
After each meeting, the minutes need to be sent out all to all group members
- Ahead of each meeting, agree on the agenda for the meeting
- Use the agenda to keep the group focused during the meeting
- End the meeting with a confirmation that everyone knows what’s expected
- Agree on a date, time & venue for the next meeting
- It’s important to know a little about the members of your group, particularly in terms of their strengths & weaknesses. You don’t want to appoint the final verbal presentation of your assessment to someone who has a phobia of public speaking
- Be sure to include everyone in on discussions, decisions, and work allocation. People are more co-operative, productive & willing to take responsibility if they have been included in the groundwork that led to the decision
- Everyone should be given a chance to speak and ‘pitch’ for specific jobs, listen to what they have to say & keep the group agenda, not your agenda, in mind when making final decisions – what is best for the group?
Common group roles include:
- The Leader
Leads discussions using open-ended questions; they facilitate discussions by clarifying & summarising group comments & decisions; they guide conversations, keeping them on track & positive; they check for consensus and/or questions from the group members
- The Organiser
Schedules & communicates meeting dates, times & venues; ensures that meetings follow an agenda; records & distributes notes of the meeting; monitors the project timeline, and keeps the project on track
- The Editor(s)
Compiles the final piece of work from parts received from different members of the group; ensures the final product flows & is consistent; edits completed work i.e. spell-check, grammar, formatting etc
- The Presenter(s)
If applicable: works with the group members to compile a cohesive & articulate presentation; presents the presentation in class
- Everyone understands & acknowledges that the assessment cannot be completed without the contribution & cooperation of all the members
- All members are given the opportunity to share their ideas & express themselves
- Differences or issues are dealt with directly with the person or people involved
- The group recognises hard work and encourages each of the members to take responsibility for their tasks and/or roles. There is a shared sense of pride & responsibility