Group Work…am I right?

I currently have four classes and four sets of groups right now. In one class I have been working with the same group for 7 weeks now. We started off a little rocky, one student ended up dropping the class after a bit of a row. It was quite dramatic. We’ve found our rhythm though and have had as much fun as we can doing assignments that are completely new to us.

Two of the groups are very new, as in starting this week we have first assignments. One of the two groups has come together quickly. The other one I have real concerns.

And then my fourth group has changed 3 times, and each time it consists of me and another girl that shares my name, and then other people that filter in and out. Erin and I have gotten the job done every time so we’re alright.

I guess what I’ve learned about groups, especially in an online setting such as this is that I don’t know them. I have very little time to get to know them, and sometimes they don’t want to share, which is their right. Getting to know them has advantages, it helps me empathize with them. I might gain a little insight to what their life looks like on the other side of the computer. I might understand why they’re not communicating quickly.

Even if I don’t really get to know them I try to give them a persona, a life, a family, a job, problems. It helps me speak to them as real people, with kindness and patience. If all we see are typed words it gets very easy to be short and snippy. Texting is an art form. How does one communicate the feeling of their message without the inflection of the spoken word? And with brevity? It can be very tricky.

I don’t like group work any more now than I did before classes began, my worry is personified by thoughts of letting the group down instead of just myself on an individual assignment. I also dislike being on someone else’s timeline. I do like being able to distribute the workload.

I’m just hoping I can keep these last five weeks and four groups straight.

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