The Group Project
How to do it
Personal chemistry is often highlighted as the marker of the good project group, and students therefore often believe that it is essential to work in groups with the right people, who share their ambitions and work ethic.
In The Group Project - How to do it the authors argue and show how a focus on project work as a professional practice, where the focus is on actions rather than on personalities and good chemistry, enables productive project work in groups for all.
This is what you can read about in the book:
- Problem-oriented project work (PPL) What are the rationales behind it? What is expected of the student?
- The learning theory of group work What is the point of working in groups? What does it take to create a community of learners?
- Facilitation A vital tool for managing group meetings and work processes.
- Project management A crucial tool for planning the project and its timely submission.
- Conflicts in the collaboration What do we do? Who can help us?
- The group exam.
The Group Project - How to do it is written for university students, who work in groups on a project for shorter or longer periods. The book presents arguments for project and group work and provides specific tools that students can use from day 1. The book is also useful for students and teachers in other higher education contexts.
Introduction · The productive project group 9
The project group as a professional practice 10
Focus on actions - not on personality types and individual preferences 11
Productive project work 14
The book's structure and purpose 15
PART I · FRAMEWORKS FOR GROUP PROJECT WORK
1. What is problem-oriented project learning? 21
PPL as an educational philosophy 22
What do you learn from PPL? 24
Expectations of a PPL student 26
Recommended literature about PPL 33
2. The learning theory of group work 35
What is group work? 36
Why group work? 39
What does it take for group work to be a productive experience for everyone? 42
Students' common understandings of group work and why it is vital to be aware of them 48
PART II · WORKING IN THE PROJECT GROUP
3. The group meeting and facilitation 59
Group meeting 59
Facilitation - what's involved? 62
Facilitation - how do you do it? 64
Group member's work between meetings 78
The first group meeting - the cooperation agreement 79
The difference between a supervisor meeting and a group meeting 82
4. Planning and project management 85
Why planning and project management? 86
The master plan: the overall framework 90
The project plan: planning and managing project content and sub-elements 92
Work plans: distribution of tasks and management of processes 99
When the project plan or work plan goes pear-shaped 102
Digital platforms 104
Writing in project groups 105
5. Handling challenges and conflicts in the collaboration 111
Academic and interpersonal aspects of group work 112
Typical causes of conflicts and how to deal with them 114
The difference between constructive and destructive conflicts: an example 124
What do we do in conflict situations? 131
When collaboration must be discontinued 136
Where can the group get help? 137
Challenges with the supervisor 139
PART III · THE GROUP EXAM
6. The group exam 145
Why group exams? 145
Learning objectives and assessment criteria 147
Are the group's collaboration skills assessed? 149
General criteria for a good university exam 150
From the supervisor situation to the exam room 151
Role allocation 154
How can the group prepare? 155
What can you give a presentation about? 157
All presentations first or individual presentations with a subsequent discussion? 158
The exam itself 159
Appendix A · example of a project plan on a Gantt chart 167