Re: Making group work palatable

Subject: Re: Making group work palatable
From: Beth Mazur <mazur -at- MAYA -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 1996 17:32:06 -0500

At 10:08 PM 12/3/96 +0000, Len Olszewski wrote:
>Eric Haddock writes:
>|> I don't know why, but I don't like group projects in the school setting.
>|> It's an odd quirk because I play well with others out in the real world.
>|> It's just group+school=distaste.

>Even in reality, collaboration is often not palatable, depending on how
>well key contributors work together. In an academic setting, it may not
>be possible to make it palatable.

I tend to agree with both Len and Eric.

However, I have had one palatable experience doing collaborative work. This
was a design project where the goals were very clearly laid out--I needed to
design a canvas whose left and right edges merged nicely with the work of
the student on the respective side. This was not a trivial exercise, as the
constraints for each different canvas were considerably different.

One of the things that I believe made this a bit more palatable was that
this work was done during class time. As an off-campus student with a
full-time job, I would have been hard pressed to do this assignment outside
of class time. I suspect that on-campus students with part-time jobs might
have found it just as difficult to coordinate meeting times.

That said, I don't know that I would include a collaborative project in
a class. It is not clear to me that the collaborative projects I had in
school have aided me in any way on the job. Instead, perhaps I'd create a
project where they needed to actually find a real "client" (preferably a
non-profit organization or charity) and create a usable piece to the
client's "specs." That way a student could practice working with others,
create a nice portfolio piece, and do something nice for the community.

Beth Mazur
MAYA Design
mazur -at- maya -dot- com


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