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>When good project teams go bad

It happens. Some teams just don’t work out. So long as you make a reasonable effort to identify and resolve the problems – usually through discussion, flexibility and hard work – the team work can get completed satisfactorily.

Some things to remember

  • This is a distance learning class. Most students take online classes because they don’t have time to get to on-campus classes. It stands to reason that they don’t have a whole lot of time for this course work. Some students with a lot of time may expect and unreasonable commitment from other team members. This can lead to conflict and frustration. Be sure that your expectations of other team members and their time are appropriate.
  • Many students tend to wait until the very last minute to complete their work. If this working style is not yours, pick a group with other early contributors. Big differences in work style and time seem to be the leading cause of group project problems.
  • Project grades as structured so that team members get grades appropriate to their contribution. If someone is not doing their part, missing deadlines or otherwise causing problems for other members, the other students can report this in the project summary.
  • Please inform the instructor. This is a learning experience. Too often, students will try to solve the problem themselves or do the work of the problem team member. This is not necessary – just keep me informed. I may be able to help.

I see that you are doing a terrific job on the project. I know that the others have language issues. Please remember, it is about group collaboration. I strongly suggest that you let the others contribute to the best of their ability. Encourage them, but don’t do their work. They need to step up and contribute. You can help them by helping them do better. The project grade is based on the team work demonstrated.

You are doing a great job in very difficult circumstances. The assignment is to work as a group to the extent possible. Sometimes this doesn’t work out because other problems come up. Do what you can and ensure that the others can contribute too. I would expect to see an outline for the entire project. You should then complete only your part of that. It should be clear to the others what they need to do. If they do it, great. However, as long as you have made an effort on the collaboration, and encouraged the others, you will have done your part. Continue to encourage the others, help them do their work, but they need to do their part, too. If there is an opportunity to do some final editing when all the sections are completed, that would be appropriate.

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