From: "Olomon, Mary L. (UMC-Student)" 
To: "Glaser, Rainer E." 
Subject: Dynamics Report
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2000 01:42:38 -0600 

I found that a friend: Michelle Jesse that I dormed with my Freshman
year was in the class and she invited me to join her and the other four
people in the group.  I met two of them in class because they were
sitting behind us.  

Michelle and I sat together every lecture and before the first exam we
met twice in Brady Commons to go over old tests and ask each questions
and quiz each other on the information.  I really felt we helped each
other out.  I learn best by quizzing other people while teaching and
talking about the information.   The other group members were emailed
and invited to these review sessions but did not show up.  Michelle sent
out several emails about getting together and it never happened.  

Unfortunately I learned that when I called Michelle to get together to
study for our second test that she had decided to withdraw from the
class.  There went the only person I had to study with and since I would
not recognize the other people in my group if I passed them on the
street, I have been trying to study on my own ever since.

I feel the group collaboration is a great idea but in practice it tends
to fall short.  The reality of several people meeting up at one place at
one time without more structure is not very likely.  By structure I mean
by grade determination.  As before when the students had to put a
project together as a group, that was probably the only time they met
and many were scrambling to find a group then, while one or two people
out of the group probably did the whole project.

 A suggestion would be to make a twice a month an office hours study
hall) type of meeting where groups put together by the instructor would
have to be in the Teaching assistant's room or such a location were
there is a monitor to whom the group can ask questions and a sign in
sheet.  Then the appearance at these group meetings would be mandatory
and can be graded on attendance.  It sounds like a study hall but may be
the only way for some people to prioritize studying as much as this
class demands.

My experience of groups over three people seldom do more than chat and
usually one on one is the only way for me to get seomthing done and even
then too much time is spent talking about unrelated subjects.  It is
hard we are gregarious creatures.  I do not feel that the group idea is
bad one I just feel that group work has yet to work for me.

Thank you,
Mary Olomon
Glaser's Pawns