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How To Survive Group Projects

If you’re like me, you cringe at the words “group presentation.”

I want it to go on the record that this quarter I have had a grand total of 7 group projects, and it’s not even finals week. As much as we hate them, presentations are pretty prevalent for many of the people that have seminar courses. Many of the classes I have taken so far are discussion based, which means there is a hefty portion of your grade that depends on how much you actively participate with class discussions. And by “actively participate” I mean actually sharing some formulated thoughts and not just answering the question with a lazy “yes” or “no”.


During most seminar courses there comes a point where the professor wants you to interact with your peers and create a group presentation. These topics are either assigned to you OR you get to choose your own from a list. Exciting stuff, people. Now, I have had about a dozen group projects since I started DePaul in the fall of 2013, and it is safe to say that not all of them went smoothly. Here are my two cents as to what you can do to make sure your group presentation doesn’t suck.
1-      Instantly exchange email or phone numbers with your group members.
Just do it. Even if the professor doesn’t give you time to meet with people after s/he assigns groups, stay after class and meet ‘em just so that you can get started sooner with everybody’s contact info. This way it will be way easier to decide when to meet. If you have an embarrassing email that you made when you were 8 like I did, maybe it is time to step up the email game.

2-      Create a fricken Google Doc.
OR PREZI OR SOME OTHER SHARED DOCUMENT SITE. Learning how to use a Google Doc was much needed this quarter. Not so much “learning” but figuring out that it is an actual thing that makes school work more convenient. Sometimes it is impossible for everyone to meet at one time (especially as you get older and more students you know have more obligations than they did when they were a freshman). Google Doc has been my best friend this quarter (sad but true) because I can still participate in the group project by editing with them online even with my busy schedule

3-      TRY to go over the final presentation with your group before the due date.
Having one final collective practice with everyone physically there makes presenting so much less awkward. The person who has the honor of flipping through the slides with the right arrow on the keyboard during the entire presentation will know his/her cues and things won’t get awkward. This will give you time to figure out if your links ACTUALLY work. It is awkward as heck when the 3 minute video that was supposed to be the main point of the presentation doesn’t end up working (trust me).
Perfecting group presentations isn’t easy. It takes time for people to adjust to sharing work and figuring out the best way to get the project done. Just remember this: look over the dang presentation. Just look it over. You’ll have an easier time verbalizing the information if you actually know what’s happening on the slides. Also don’t forget the eye contact. Heavy eye contact is good in this situation (not on the el or at any time past 11pm).



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