OPINION: Three reasons why group projects are worse in college


Most of us are familiar with the dreaded words “group project” from our time in high school. The resulting project usually ends up with one or two people contributing most of the effort, while everyone else lets them take the reins.

However, teachers usually allowed each group some time in class to work on said projects, and everybody’s schedule was relatively similar. Now that we’re in college, group projects are infinitely more difficult.

The first problem I have with group projects in college classes is the time required to complete a quality project.

Many advisers tell students to study three hours for every one hour they spend in class. Assuming that a student is enrolled in fourteen hours — the average course load for K-State freshmen — that means a student should spend 42 hours a week studying. By adding on a project, which is often separate from normal homework, a student’s schedule can quickly become bogged down in work.

Another problem with group work is that college students have crazy schedules.

Some students may work after classes, while others only have classes before noon. When you take four or five students and make them work on a project together, the probability that there will be scheduling conflicts increases drastically.

Even within a highly motivated group, it can be a challenge to get everybody together at once. If even a single group member doesn’t fairly contribute, a greater work load is placed on the shoulders of the rest of the group, which in turn could cause the quality of the final product to suffer.

Finally, group work can hurt the grade of a student who is highly motivated but has the misfortune to be grouped with students who simply don’t care about the project.

As mentioned before, a noncontributing member can cause a group’s project to be less than ideal. When you factor in the knowledge that a group member is intentionally not contributing, a lot of stress and frustration enters the mix. It’s unfair to the rest of the group members who put forth their best efforts if their grade suffers due to an unmotivated teammate.

While I’m sure that group projects aren’t going anywhere, I hope professors can think of ways to mitigate the unnecessary challenges faced by students when working on the dreaded projects. Until then, we’ll be working just as hard as ever.

Jason DeFisher is a junior in animal sciences and industry. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.