Group work: its cruel and unusual

 By Blanca Gonzalez, April 20, 2021

Dear professors and lecturers of Cal Poly Pomona, I’m going to get straight to the point: Please stop making your classes group-work heavy (especially during a pandemic)!

The words “group work” have always been synonymous with “nightmare” for me. Although many professors tell us that we have to get used to working in groups because in our jobs we’ll be working in groups, I don’t think they take into consideration that in a workplace you’re being paid to collaborate, so people tend to care more about their performance because there is more at stake. However, in a classroom setting, there are students who don’t care about their own grades, let alone other people’s grades or time — making it a nightmare to work in groups.  

The pandemic has not made anything easier for any of us, and I never thought that group projects or group assignments could get any more annoying. But they have. Now, aside from sitting in front of a computer for class, assignments, club meetings and work meetings, we also need to find time as groups to meet online and sit through hours of an assignment we could have done individually on our own time and at our own pace? I’m sorry, but no. 

Our schedules are just as crazy as anyone’s and having to find time every other week to work with a group is stressful because the pandemic has changed all of our lives and schedules. There are also many students whose home environments aren’t remote-learning-friendly and working in groups outside of class often can become troublesome or inconvenient.  

Please hear me out. I understand if there are a couple or a few group assignments that will aid toward our growth and success in your class throughout the semester, but can it please not be more than one 

The first semester that we went remote, I had a professor who loved to assign group work. At the beginning of the semester it was fine because we were able to meet on campus or discuss our assignment during class. It was much easier to get a hold of all our group members, and even then, my group members were horrible at cooperating. I really had to do the majority of the work because I didn’t want our assignment to be incomplete or inadequate because of others’ faults (I know a lot of students will relate to this).  

Picking up the slack for others is even harder online, especially if the groups are made up of more than three people. And to make it worse, sometimes we’re left feeling like we have no option but to pick up the slack for others because of how heavily group assignments impact our overall grade.  

So, on behalf of all students who aren’t fans of group work, please consider revising your syllabi and assigning less group work — at least during the pandemic.

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