In my doctoral courses, this has been THE week of group projects and it’s been very interesting.

I suggest group projects or (at least) group work to a lot of faculty I work with and, even if they don’t actually end up relying on group projects, it usually gets us thinking about some interesting, more creative and effective ways to provide assessment.

I think this is because it requires a higher level of design and logistics in order to empower the students to work together and do some light assessment/development with each other during the process. And so the bar is raised and the assessment and student experience are both developed regardless of whether it becomes a group work project or not.

Being on the student side this past week for two separate group projects has been useful because it’s reminded me of potential challenges my faculty’s students might encounter and how to design for those and take preemptive action. It’s also been an eye opener because I’ve seen where I fall short as a partner in group work. I think I was 3 or 4 days behind schedule on my contribution to a group paper because of workload, time, and (admittedly) motivation issues.

In another course, group work, partner work, or individual work were all options for the final project. And I really love this model of flexibility.

All in all, I like these kinds of opportunities because, other than the knowledge, I think they expand on a wide range of skills outside of the coursework itself but crucial to our success overall.