What is the DEAL with all the group projects? - page 2

After just surviving a harrowing experience with a group project in Psych ...I about vomited when I got my syllabus in the mail today for Community. The class is 5 days. 5 whopping days. 1 test... Read More

  1. by   Jules A
    I HATE group projects and the only good that has come from them is the knowledge I learned about just how stinking particular I need to be in choosing the team I work with in "the real world". It only took two of them for that to be ingrained in my mind the rest were just miserable overkill.
  2. by   smk1
    Quote from BoonersMom
    After just surviving a harrowing experience with a group project in Psych ...I about vomited when I got my syllabus in the mail today for Community.

    The class is 5 days. 5 whopping days. 1 test (30% grade) 1 group project (60% grade) and the other 10% is attendance.


    60% of the grade is a group project? AUUUUGGHHHHHH I freaking hate these things!


    So I went online to see if they had posted the OB Syllabus yet and walla....there it is with......group projects.

    Can someone please explain to me what is the purpose behind all the group projects? My Community one is supposedly only supposed to be 10-20 minute presentation.....grrr...I can do that myself...grrr. Don't get me wrong- I don't have a problem being a team player .....but 60% of the grade? Augh!
    I've said it before and I'll say it again, group projects are ridiculous at this point in nursing school, and they should NEVER be worth 60% of your grade. You already have to work in groups during your skills lab, clinical etc... and really that is the "type" of group work that most of us need anyway, we were required to take small group communication or interpersonal communication anyway so we should have al the "principles" we need to work in groups. I hate letting my grade depend upon other peoples work, so I end up doing the whoe project myself anyway to have a back-up plan in case others don't do their share. Guess what? I HAVE NEEDED MY BACK-UP PLAN EVERY TIME! It is a lot better now that I am in nursing school though, because we don't have that many group projects that are graded, and everyone here is a good student and usually will be on the same wave-length as I am. I am paying for this education, and I do NOT think it is appropriate for any group project to be worth more than 20% of a persons grade (and 20 is too high in my opinion). You shouldn't be able to fail a class based on a group assingment which is contingent upon other people doing their part.
  3. by   Lisa CCU RN
    Just be glad you don't have to do group papers.
    I like to write my papers waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy before the due date and others like to wait till the last minute ( the last minute to me is a week before the paper is due).

    I am writing my 10 page anthropology paper after Christmas and I'd write my OB paper too, but no, it's got to be a dang group paper.
  4. by   Daytonite
    Quote from Jules A
    I HATE group projects and the only good that has come from them is the knowledge I learned about just how stinking particular I need to be in choosing the team I work with in "the real world". It only took two of them for that to be ingrained in my mind the rest were just miserable overkill.
    Good luck finding this team in "the real world". After 30 years of working I can honestly say that I've yet to be able to predict or have any kind of control over what my coworkers were going to end up being like after being processed and interviewed during the hiring process. Maybe a good crystal ball would be helpful. However, I know hope springs eternal. I wish you well.
  5. by   smk1
    Quote from CRNASOMEDAY25
    Just be glad you don't have to do group papers.
    I like to write my papers waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy before the due date and others like to wait till the last minute ( the last minute to me is a week before the paper is due).

    I am writing my 10 page anthropology paper after Christmas and I'd write my OB paper too, but no, it's got to be a dang group paper.
    We had a group project in Microbiology and it drove me nuts. One girl didn't do her part before the rough draft was due, never called us or emailed us. I of course had writted an entire rough draft so I just did her part for her. When she finally came and participated, she wanted to change everything, had plagarized like crazy, didn't understand why we needed to change the wording of all of the individual pieces to make the paper flow well, was an ESL student and her grammar wasn't perfect either. Got on my last nerve. Then there was another person who just wanted to cut and paste everyones info together with no editing. What teacher wants to read a paper that sounds like i is written by 5 different people? There has to be "one voice" on the paper so that it isn't choppy, add to this the fact that writing papers is one of my best skills, it was quite frustrating to try and debate with people about what should and should not go into a paper.
  6. by   WDWpixieRN
    I, too, hate group projects....inevitably it seems there's at least one person who doesn't pull their weight and it's very difficult to take unless the instructor is sure to ask for a "group evaluation" from each member...I had one instructor who did that and I felt that was a fair way of his evaluating who did what in a paper that 3 of us were required to write for Econ....unfortunately, only TWO of us did the actual work while the third person's name was included in our "group" heading...that was some small amount of satisfaction...

    I think there are some valid points about learning to work as part of a team, but honestly, I truly believe that those who know and value working as part of a team already "get it"....it's those who were used to sliding by in school and elsewhere in life who make it miserable for others in the workplace...I don't think there are any easy answers, but making MY grade depend on someone else's efforts (or lack thereof) is something that really irritates me...at least in a lot of workplace situations a person's reputation often precedes them and folks are aware of their work ethic -- or lack thereof...
  7. by   RN 4 U
    I feel your pain. I was in an accelerated BSN program and mostly made to do a lot of darn group projects. I hated it. I had this one class, that almost made me lose it, ended up doing all of the work, informed the teacher, still really nothing was done in the end the slackers benefited from my labor. Good luck to all of those who have to do group projects, just keep looking forwarded it will all be over soon.
  8. by   Daytonite
    any project needs to have a clearly defined project leader to keep confusion and misunderstandings about the project to a minimum. that is the first order of business. someone has to be appointed as the team leader if only to oversee the logistics of getting all the work done. organization and communication are big ticket items that the leader is primarily responsible for. next, there has to be planning, prioritizing and delegating. the team leader is ultimately accountable for these activities. then the team must:
    • lay out a plan. from the beginning, delineate all the jobs and their descriptions that are required to complete the project
    • know the rules and guidelines of the project clearly as given to you by the instructor
    • the leader delegates jobs to the members of the group. hopefully, you know who is capable of performing which tasks better than others and assign accordingly. do it by volunteering or assigning--whatever you have to do to accomplish the project.
    • directions for each task need to be clear so there are no misunderstandings. they should be put in writing with a copy to each group member.
    • get contact information from each member. being able to establish communication between members at any time should be a priority.
    • break large jobs down into smaller tasks and give every single job and task a deadline. the leader keeps track of dates and deadlines to make sure they are being met.
    • have everyone in the group repeat back what their assignment is and what their deadline is to establish that they know what is expected of them
    • most important. . .follow-up with each member on a regular basis to see how members are doing with their tasks. make it clear that this follow-up is going to be done. don't wait until deadlines to discover that someone isn't towing their part of the load. redistribute the tasks if you have to.
    use assertiveness techniques to confront people who aren't following the work plan or meeting deadlines as agreed. there has to be consequences for failure to perform. redistribute the work that deadbeats aren't doing if you have to and report to instructors early that you have a team member who isn't cooperating. you are going to get better understanding from instructors if you show them you were organized, had a written plan of action with objectives and deadlines and that you have identified an uncooperative member(s) as a disciplinary problem which you have no authority to do anything about. that would be the professional way to handle a situation like this.

    if you look a little closer, you should also recognize shades of the nursing process in this: assess, plan, implement, evaluate, reassess, re-plan, implement, reevaluate. . .and so on.

    blow me off if you like, but i'm sitting back with 30 years of experience as both a nursing student and a practicing nurse and telling you that i can see the value of what you can learn from group projects that will be of enormous impact on your practice as nurses and leaders. i am sincerely trying to help you all in avoiding some of the pitfalls you could end up in. no one pointed these things out to me when i was a student, at least not that i can remember. i had to learn it all through trial and error. and, then, after awhile i began to realize how my school experience could have prepared me so much better had an instructor or two only given us some guidance as to how to work in a group and helped us to understand the many crossover nursing skills we could have been incorporating into getting a project done.

    then again, maybe the idea of a group project is for you to figure all this out on your own just as i did after the projects and the classes were over. i guess i didn't need that stupid old "a" anyway.
    Last edit by Daytonite on Dec 22, '06
  9. by   BoonersmomRN
    Daytonite I don't think anyone is blowing off what you are saying...for what you are saying holds a lot of truth to it. I may not have any experience in managing nurses...but I have managerial experience.

    However I don't think you are addressing what some of us have said. The majority of schools allow the students to form their own groups. So friends stick with friends, etc. People immediately group up with others they KNOW will pull their part. This doesn't really teach anything. As you said- in the real world, good luck "forming" this group...so why allow it to occur in the classroom? It certainly makes it a lot less fair for those students who don't HAVE 3 other "friends" in the class.

    Now other schools, or certain classes, assign you partners. This is the only way I can see that group projects would have an inkling of use. Even in this scenario you can wind up with 1 student who is serious and 3 others who are flakes. Is it really fair to have 60% of your grade be contingent on how well the serious student can or cannot get the flakes to pull their work while another group could have been 4 random "serious" students? This happened to me in Psych. I was assigned the WORST partner I have ever had...while the other 2 people in my group, who didn't know each other, worked flawlessly together because they both took it seriously.

    I can see the value of group projects overall but there comes a point where I do think they are overkill AND a point where to have something weighed that heavily is nuts. Personally I am a very extroverted person who gets along just fine with others..and could easily form and lead a group of 4. That automatically gives me more of a leg up. I'm not worried about future tears...I am annoyed with future group projects.. ha ha.
  10. by   Jules A
    Hi Daytonite,
    I was in no way blowing off your experienced opinion and in fact I have copied/saved your most recent post outlining how to organize the project before things fall apart. I will most definitely pull it out next time I'm stuck doing a group project. Thank you very much for sharing your insight.
    Jules
    P.S. Just for the record I'm still not in favor of them but just because I think they are highly unfair to hardworking students doesn't mean that I won't do what needs to be done.
  11. by   RN34TX
    Quote from daytonite
    and, i don't have any dispute with what you are saying. however, many times you will have patients and co-workers not of your choosing either.
    that's not a fair comparison.
    when my slacker co-worker doesn't pull his weight, i don't end up with a short paycheck, i'm still paid the same.

    however, when my slacker group team member doesn't pull her weight, i could be walking away with a lower grade through no fault of my own and ultimately beyond my control.

    i've read your posts and a lot of what you are saying makes sense, your posts were really thought provoking and urged me to look at group work in another way and to examine it's true value in education.

    but......i can't literally make someone pull their weight and i don't think i should have my grade jeopardized when i can only control my own behavior, not someone elses.

    at my school the group projects have often comprised 20 to even 50% of the final course grade.

    throughout the semesters i've had excellent groups that worked perfectly together and i've had groups where the entire project was completed by myself and one other person while others received full credit simply because they were part of the group.

    either i did their work for them, or we all failed together.
    that is the choice i'm given under these group circumstances.

    the only recourse i had was to grade the other team members at the end of the semester. this grade counted as 10% of the final course grade. so even if i gave the slackers a zero, they still got an "a" worth up to 50% of the final course grade for work they never did.

    i understand what you are trying to say and agree that group work teaches valuable lessons, but apparantly i haven't learned any of them outside of getting taken advantage of by lazy students.

    the group work aspect of nursing education has completely turned me off to ever going on for a masters degree.

    i started the bsn program with the thought of going on for a masters, but after my experience with group work in my current program, i think that the bsn will be my last stop on the education train.

    i've had enough and i'm done with being the mule pulling most or all of the weight so that others can get good grades simply by being parasites.

    in fact, at my school the group work is so heavy at both the bachelors and graduate levels, that i often wonder whenever i see nametags with fancy degrees/letters after someone's name if they got their degree largely by sponging off someone else's hard work and they were simply carried through and would never have graduated if it weren't for their team members carrying them through their programs.

    i know for a fact that i as well as some of my other team members have carried a couple of people through their bsn courses and they would never have passed otherwise.
  12. by   Jules A
    Quote from RN34TX
    In fact, at my school the group work is so heavy at both the bachelors and graduate levels, that I often wonder whenever I see nametags with fancy degrees/letters after someone's name if they got their degree largely by sponging off someone else's hard work and they were simply carried through and would never have graduated if it weren't for their team members carrying them through their programs.
    Great so I have this to look forward to?
    Is this a new thing? A professor (not nursing) mentioned to me that our particular school was really focusing on group projects and I was wondering if this is one of those horrible trends that may disappear in years to come? Wishful thinking perhaps.
  13. by   S.T.A.C.E.Y
    Quote from RN34TX
    I've had enough and I'm done with being the mule pulling most or all of the weight so that others can get good grades simply by being parasites.

    I know for a fact that I as well as some of my other team members have carried a couple of people through their BSN courses and they would never have passed otherwise.
    Hahahaha, you make me laugh! I agree with you about how group projects in school are NOT the same as group projects in the real world. A system that weighs heavily on group projects unfairly advantages the slacker student, and disadvantages the hard-working one. If you're in a group where everyone is at the same level, and working at the same level, than alls well......but how often does that happen.

    Too often with group projects slacking students survive the project because they leeched onto a group that produced something impressive. And the student who busted his/her butt to make up for the student(s) who did little to no work gets no credit for carrying the extra weight.

    Personally, I like it when I am given the option of group work or personal work.

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