Group Dynamics Report
Overall, our group (number 6, the Watchamacallits) worked very well together. We met three times before spring break to select our article and to narrow our focus, and we met five times after break to complete our editorial comments and questions. We have met in Memorial Union as well as in computer labs. Although it varied, the length of our meetings was usually no less than an hour. This final week, our meetings have lasted closer to two hours. In the process of selecting an article, we tried to make the most of group meeting time by searching for possible articles on our own beforehand. Overall, our group considered about fifteen different articles from a wide range of sources, including the Christian Science Monitor, the Environmental News Network, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers and on-line news sources.
As with any similar project, there were various advantages and disadvantages to group work. It was great to be able to brainstorm ideas and combine our knowledge to fully understand the chemistry behind the articles. We were also able to divide some of the work so that no one person did everything. However, there were a few drawbacks to group work. Sometimes there were simply too many people to reach a consensus very quickly. When we tried to type up the editorial comments together, progress was very slow. It worked much better when we each did work on our own and then met to combine the best ideas. Another small difficulty was finding meeting times that were convenient to all. It required some flexibility and rearranging to accomplish this goal.
Our collaborative learning did not really go beyond this project. Although we tried to set up a time to study for the second test together, scheduling conflicts prevented it. However, getting to know other classmates did help a great deal. Even though we never had a study session together, we served as resources for each other to discuss questions and course material before, after and during class. Overall, the advantages of group activity outweighed the disadvantages. If given the choice in the future, our group would choose to do the project together rather than individually.