Group Work: Butterflies and Vampires

My experience with group projects in SLIS has mostly been positive. I especially enjoyed my LIBR 202 group. I had heard that 202 was hard, but my group was so wonderful that 202 went very smoothly for me. I was so grateful to my group! Everyone in the group was dedicated, diligent, and wanted to do well. I remember that the professor gave each group a name, and we were the Butterflies.

I have had one negative group experience in SLIS. We were writing a group paper, and we also had to write anonymous comments about our group members’ contributions. A couple of the group members were night owls who thrive on last minute pressure. Our group name should have been the Vampires. They wrote their emails, edited the Google document, and added to the discussion board in the middle of the night. In the feedback I received, one of my group members said that I didn’t respond quickly enough to emails. I was furious! I thought it was totally unreasonable to expect responses in the middle of the night. Call me crazy, but I sleep at night (I have the pale skin of a vampire, but not the sleep schedule). We earned an A on the assignment, so the story does have a happy ending. But I was so angry that I wrote an email to the professor about it. She responded, and then she reorganized the groups. And my new group was awesome!

So from this experience, I would give the following advice. If you are allowed to choose your groups members, look carefully at the discussion boards. See who always posts early, see who always posts late, and consider the timing of your own postings. If you are always one of the first three or four people in the class to post, ask the other early posters if they would like to work with you in a group. And the opposite: if you are always one of the last students to post, ask the other late posters if they would like to work with you. I am not trying to criticize either group, but I am saying that it will be stressful for people with wildly varying approaches to time management to work together. You might also consider time of day people are posting and what time zone they live in.

Working with people who have the same tendencies you have timewise does not guarantee a successful group, but it is something to base a decision on when you are trying to create groups with people you don’t know well.