It’s hard to believe that this semester is almost over! For me and a fair amount of my fellow Warner students, that means it’s group project season! Here are some tips regarding making the most of our limited time as graduate students and articulating your points effectively in a presentation as a group:
- Compare schedules and exchange contact information as soon as you receive the assignment. Planning ahead is key, so get a group message thread going if possible, and figure out some dates to work in advance. Flesh out meeting times first; you can be somewhat flexible, but it helps to have somewhat of an outline in mind. Come together fairly often to discuss project progress.
- Choose your duties for the presentation carefully, and take everyone’s preferences into consideration. Were you a math major during your undergraduate career? Maybe you’d do well working with quantitative data. Do you have good communication skills? Take a stab at interviewing participants. Ensure that group members’ responsibilities are clearly laid out and that everyone has due dates for certain parts of the project.
- Set up a Google Doc or other shareable form of online communication. For one of my projects this semester, we have a Google Doc simply for brainstorming, and one for an actual presentation handout. It is helpful to have all of your ideas in one place so that everyone has a chance to edit them equally. Whenever one of us makes an edit, we text or email the group to let them know exactly what we added! Additionally, having these documents makes any required reflections that go along with the project easier to compose because it is easier to access what everyone contributed.
- Check BlackBoard frequently for updates and sample presentations. Our course website BlackBoard is often utilized by professors to list syllabus changes and information regarding best practices when it comes to specific parts of a project. Make sure all group members are privy to this information and remind one another of additions to the course’s section.
- Help each other! We all have multiple responsibilities: some of us work full time in addition to taking classes, some have families to take care of, and some are working at several part-time positions. Whatever the unique circumstances are of your group, make sure you establish a safe and open space for members to share concerns and needs. Find ways to communicate that works for everyone, consult with your professor if you need extra clarification, and meet off campus if necessary. Being flexible will allow your group to be more cohesive, and therefore have a more effective presentation!