By: Nicole Magas, Opinions Editor
Oh, the humble group project. We know how this will go: four students enter, two disappear on the second day, one doesn’t seem to be in the right class, and the final student shares the grade they earned with everyone else. Group projects are a hot mess and can constitute a legitimate reason for you to peace straight out of a class when you spot them on a syllabus, depending on how much of the grade they’re worth.
When students tap into their masochistic side and choose to stick it out, though, there’s an understanding that the experience is not going to be pleasant. It’s not going to be fair. It’s going to test your interpersonal skills to the breaking point. And there’s definitely going to be public speaking. But quite possibly the most frustrating thing of all is that it’s going to be like herding a mess of caffeinated cats into a single carrier case after screaming, “We’re going to the vet,” at the top of your lungs.
Here’s what professors never seem to take into account when assigning group projects: students very, very rarely have schedules that line up with other random students in their classes. Hell, it’s been months since I’ve been able to fit myself into my friends’ schedules, let alone that of complete strangers. If professors would grant their time-strapped students even 30 minutes in class to work in their groups, it would take a lot of the stress off of trying to align the planets into that sweet spot when everyone is free to meet.
Students are balancing work, course loads, family drama, and yoga classes into a day that never feels like it’s actually 24 hours long. And yet we’re still expected to magically find a few unaccounted for seconds to all meet up together on a construction crane somewhere to discuss who is going to make the PowerPoint slides.
And yes, it would be wonderful if we could all agree to connect remotely over the electronic ether, except Greg is a hipster who doesn’t believe in social media. (There is always a Greg. You can look this up.) As the emergence of new communications technology begins to outpace new generations, even finding which platform groupmates all share can be a chore.
Instructors of SFU: if you’re going to include a group project on the syllabus, then please, for the love of anything good left on campus, give us some time to work on it in class. All we ask for is just a few minutes to make sure everyone is on the right track. And to touch base with Greg.