Group work

Group work

At GCU we expect you to work with other students in small groups. Group work can be an interesting and enjoyable experience. However, to make it positive, you need to think about the process in advance.You will be expected to work with other students on collaborative projects that will be assessed and will contribute to your overall course marks. Different types of group activity will require different skills. LearnHigher give the following examples:

  • Group presentation: Prepare a presentation on a specified topic with a group of your peers. The aim is to ensure that you understand certain key concepts and are able to work with others to present a summary of what you collectively understand. You may be assessed individually or as a group and may be asked to complete a peer assessment (of other members of your group) or a self assessment (of your own performance).
    Skills developed: presentation, communication, negotiation, decision-making, leadership, listening and interpersonal skills.
  • Group exercise: Solve a problem with your group at a particular time. These activities are often used at the start of the course to familiarise students and highlight some of the skills they will use on the course. There is generally no right answer to the problem set, with the focus being on how the group approaches the problem (though success usually helps the group feel good about the exercise). A common example is one where you are asked to rank a list of equipment in order of usefulness in a given situation both individually, and then as a group. The group must agree on the rank order and certain constraints may be applied to the decision making method (such as, no majority vote).
    Skills developed: problem solving, negotiation, lateral thinking, communication, organisation, listening and leadership.
  • Group essay: Prepare a written piece of academic work in a group. This is a challenging task and it may be tempting for one person to write individually. However, the value of working as a group is its potential for producing additional ideas, and effective groups are likely to generate a better output than an individual.
    Skills developed: research, communication, organisation, listening and academic writing.
  • Group project: Create an object (like a robot) with a group or create a film. This type of activity can be a short or long term event. Group projects are a common method of assessing your understanding of concepts and ability to work as a group to apply them. You may be assessed on the object produced and also the process of achieving it, so be prepared to keep a learning journal of the experience.
    Skills developed: problem solving, planning, decision making, communication, organisation, listening and leadership
  • Group meeting: Conduct a meeting that will be observed. You may be given a scenario or asked to discuss a scenario relevant to your studies. This is also a common method used in assessment centres by employers, who are looking for what you contribute and how you do this, as well as the reaction from others.
    Skills developed: problem solving, planning, presenting a case, communication, negotiation, listening and leadership.
  • Team building activity: Take part in team building activities to help you get acquainted with the group or to demonstrate the kind of skills you will use. These would not normally be assessed and should help you identify some personality traits of others. Activities are similar to group exercises but may be more physical in their nature. A common example is to get a group of people from one place to another with a set of constraints.