Opinion | Group projects are dreadful

Several+people+work+together+in+a+group+setting.

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Several people work together in a group setting.

By Sanjna Menon, Columnist

When introduced to a course that implements group projects, it may be a red flag for what the class has to offer. Behind the facade of collaborative learning, this dreaded assignment provides nothing but increased anxiety for college students. 

The main problem I have with group projects is that my grade is no longer dependent on my effort alone but must now carry the baggage of other people’s collaboration. This type of assignment entails its own variety of characters. 

There’s always a person who cares about getting it done, another who wants to help but is too busy and finally the one who forgoes any and all communication to the group. The sad part is these stereotypes are, more often than not, true. This leads a select few to do all the work and share the credit with others who put in close to zero effort. 

Assuming all members are willing to put in work, more issues tend to arise, one of which is scheduling. The average student at the University has an average of 15 credit hours every semester. The recommended studying time of three hours out of class for every hour in class brings the time spent studying outside class to 45 hours.

These 45 hours are exclusive to studying and do not include time set aside for homework or individual projects. Adding on the inconveniences of a group project just fills up a student’s schedule even more.

With the number of busy hours being true for every member in the group, finding a time that works for everyone becomes increasingly difficult. Not every student in the group is bound to have the same major, classes or even fall in the same year. On top of that, most students have other commitments like RSOs, jobs and interviews that further decrease the probability of lining up schedules.

This semester more than ever, group projects seem like dead weight. These unprecedented circumstances have already caused us to leave campus and adapt to remote teaching. This move to online learning is hard enough, and group projects seem far more impossible now than ever before. 

In addition to dealing with the problems above, time zones also need to be taken into consideration. At first it was hard enough to line up schedules, but now lining up time zones makes it so much more difficult to find a common and reasonable time to work with one another. 

Even though I am aware that group projects aren’t going anywhere, at the very least, it is important that they be abandoned this semester. Rather than putting students through the stress of collaboratively creating a mediocre slide show, forgoing the unpleasantness of group projects would play a huge role in allowing students to focus more on remote teaching. This would help students better adjust to online and remote courses and also remove a lot of stress from their plate.

Hopefully, our professors continue the semester without group projects or at least can come up with a system that would make them less dreadful and more enjoyable. But until that time comes, it’s right back to Zoom calls.

Sanjina is a junior in LAS

[email protected]