Our group faced many difficulties, as we're sure many groups did,
including finding meeting places and times as well as delegating
responsibilities. Most of the time we met at either Brady Commons or
Memorial Union or at one of the group member's house.
The meeting place was the least of our worries when pitted against
what time we could meet. Putting the time restrains of a certain
basketball player aside, trying to get 5 people's schedules to connect
such that a reasonable meeting time could be reached was next to
impossible. Most of the time our group meetings ended up being meetings
of 2 or 3 people at the most for only short periods of time with little
being accomplished because there just wasn't enough input for decisions
to be made fairly. We finally ended up meeting once a week (sometimes
on FRIDAY nights!) for about an hour and a half starting in February and
going mostly through March until the project was due.
To find our article, we had the entire group members try to find
interesting things off the web. We then e-mailed some ideas, but it got
somewhat confusing without actual human contact. Finally, we settled on
a topic that was both interesting and relevant to organic chemistry.
Once we had an article, we had to make sure everyone had read it and
understood all the chemistry behind it before proceeding to the next
step of editorial comments and pertinent questions. That took some
time, then the actual editorial comment section was slightly vague
because we weren't sure what the best way was to include all of the
group members in writing the comments.
This then brings up another difficulty associated with group work.
The way this project was set up, it was hard to assign different parts
to each member of the group and so it ended up that just a few people
from the group ended up doing quite a lot of the work. A possible
solution for the future could be to either assign article to each group
or have a list of articles to choose from--first come, first serve.
Then everyone in the group would just have to read the article and come
up with some comments and questions, join those ideas as a group, and
then submit for a grade. The peer review aspect could still be
utilized, but without topic selection and relation to organic chemistry,
the evaluations wouldn't be as detailed, thus making them less time
consuming. Another suggestion may be to have only half of the group's
grade be decided by our peers, and have the second half be at least
overseen, if not decided by the instructor.
In closing, our group feels that this project may have helped us
appreciate some of the organic chemistry that occurs around us everyday,
but it also breed some headaches. With a few minor adjustments and some
more feedback, the collaborative group project can become more of a
positive and joyful experience instead of something of a chore.
Group 3: The Rau Group