Are Group Projects Every Student’s Nightmare?



Marissa Verdon, Staff Writer

When a professor announces a group project there’s typically two opposite reactions.

One half of the class is excited to spend time away from the normal lecture to talk and discuss with their peers, while others wish they could run out the door and pretend to be absent for the day. Love them or hate them, group projects are common here at Utica College.

“My feelings about group projects depends on the group and the circumstances by which the group was created,” sophomore Jessica Bates said. “I don’t like groups as much if I don’t get to pick who I work with, but I like when I have another person to bounce ideas off of.”

Bates is not alone.

Sophomore Sabrina Rice enjoys listening to what others have to say and seeing what they are thinking.

“The only time I don’t like them is when there’s a control freak,” Bates said. “They act like it has to be done their way or the highway.”

Students often wonder if there are any benefits to group projects other than headaches and unanswered emails from classmates.

According to a study done by the University of Washington, the social dynamics of a group, such as working with a friend, can positively affect a group projects outcome.

The study concluded that the more comfortable students are with the people they work with, the easier and more beneficial it is inside and outside the classroom. The study also found that being able to work well in groups is a key attribute that employers are looking for in new hires.

“I think group projects are necessary because they force communication and teamwork,” said junior Conner Supensky. “Everyone needs to learn how to work successfully in a group.”

While group work is common here on campus, certain classes and majors require more or less than others.

“My major doesn’t require a lot of group work, but my minor in psychology does,” Bates said. “I’m currently in a group dynamics class this semester, and we have to do a group project and teach for an entire 75-minute class. It’ll be interesting to translate what we’ve learned in this class into an actual project.”

Sophomore Cristin Clark is an English major, which does not require much group work.

“My major is pretty much a do it yourself kind of major,” Clark said. “English requires a lot of writing, which is mostly singular.”

Clark likes to know if everyone in the group will do their part, but most of the time she enjoys doing projects herself. This assures Clark that the project will be done and will follow the correct criteria.

“Either one person does all of the work and the others just write their name on the finished product or one or two people actually put some thought into the work while others just do a bit of it.” Clark said.

If students are struggling with group projects there are online resources to help. USA Today College suggests checking in frequently with other members to make sure deadlines are met.