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How do you deal with group work with non-mature students?

(42 Posts)
18yearstooold Mon 13-Apr-15 19:36:39

We've been put into groups for a group presentation -5 weeks ago

The rest of my group are 19 and live on campus

I'm not 19, am a lone parent and live 20 miles away

We haven't started yet because they keep missing arranged meetings and saying, doesn't matter, we can do it after lectures -well no I can't actually

I've arranged childcare for 4 days this holiday so I can go in -they keep cancelling at short notice because they've had a better offer -either social or shifts at work

We need to pass this and they don't seem to care

Feel like knocking their heads together -they don't seem to understand I can't pull an all nighter the day before to get it done

What do I do?

Sailwithmeawayhoney Mon 13-Apr-15 19:41:04

That's tricky, I don't know the answer but will be watching with interested as I am in the same position.

VenusRising Mon 13-Apr-15 19:42:44

Have a word with your tutor and demand a different group .
That sounds like shit, and I'm sure they're obliged to help you.

18yearstooold Mon 13-Apr-15 19:46:58

In theory if someone in the group isn't pulling their weight they will be made to do the full project by themselves

But what if 3 in the group aren't pulling their weight and 1 is

All the other groups are too far on for me to join, plus these were allocated groups so can't really gate crash

Lectures don't start back until next week so the first time I can talk to my lecturer will be a week before the presentation date

Ahhh the stress!

Nightwish Mon 13-Apr-15 19:52:21

It probably won't be what you want to hear but this year I have ended up doing most of the work in the numerous bastard group work I have had to do.
This is because I have been the only one capable of working to any type of schedule that we plan and the only one finishing any work. I am also not 19 (not ridiculously far off but still), live 30 miles from my Uni and have two children.

I now absolutely hate group work with a passion in a University setting.

I would divide the work up and get on with your part.
I found it helped to make a dedicated Facebook group to communicate and upload work.
However I will admit to getting extremely pissed off numerous times and telling them exactly what I thought, with the honest truth that if they continued to not do anything I would be talking to the lecturer.

Group work has brought down my average grade this year due to idiots not being capable of working. I hope that they start working properly with you soon.

18yearstooold Mon 13-Apr-15 20:09:21

My grade has also been brought down but as this is first year it's pass/fail so i'm trying not to stress it too much

I think i'm going to end up writing the bloody thing and giving them a script aren't I?

RandomMess Mon 13-Apr-15 20:16:09

Why don't you do it by yourself then speak to your lecturer and ask them about the situation? I wouldn't willingly do it on behalf of the whole group and let them take the credit tbh.

18yearstooold Mon 13-Apr-15 20:20:33

Random I've got 4 other group assignments to be completed between now and the 4th may then an exam week the 11th of may

If I can avoid doing 4 lots of research then I will grin

RandomMess Mon 13-Apr-15 20:23:43

Eek - have you emailed the lecturer? I would.

18yearstooold Mon 13-Apr-15 20:27:04

She's not back until Monday and she has young children so when she's on holiday, she's on holiday lol

Egog Mon 13-Apr-15 20:29:37

Group work is the devil's own construction.

I'm in the last year of a degree now and in a similar situation - I tend to approach group work with a 'take no prisoners' attitude now.

If you use Moodle, set up a group Wiki to organize things and share ideas, and do as much as you can online. Saves travel problems, and also leaves you with a neat little log of who did what in case you need to talk to tutors afterwards if people are being lazy rotbags.

I do end up doing most of the work, but at least that way I am guaranteed that it will be handed in on time, and of a decent enough standard. I also found it gets easier over the course of the degree - in the first year group work was like pulling teeth, but I've got a bit of a reputation now for being a bitch, but a bitch who will get you a 1st if you work with her. smile

Good luck, and think of the end result!

FaFoutis Mon 13-Apr-15 20:36:01

I was going to suggest you do it online too. I mark group wikis and always notice how much each person contributed.

TheWintersmith Mon 13-Apr-15 20:40:09

That is really shit

The only thing I can offer is I have done quite a bit of group work as a distance learner, in mixed campus/ distance learner groups

We had a couple of recalcitrant ones too

I'd send a group email along the lines of, ' seems we can't find a convenient time we can all make. How about we split this 4 ways, I like writing about widgits so I will research the section on widgits and write that part of the conclusion, that just leaves wotsits and thingummies to research, you chaps split that up as you like and we will pool via email / Dropbox what we have on the 14 th to put together drafts '

For us in our groups, it worked really well. The tutours know damn well who is pulling weight. We ended up turning in some great work on quite complex subjects despite us all being in different time zones and not having English as a first language ( I was the only native speaker of English in our group)

At least if you do your bit, you then have something to go to your tutor with, and if you do have to do it all, you have some kind of start.

Best of luck

TheWintersmith Mon 13-Apr-15 20:42:27


And yes, the advantage of that method ( always use your uni email account) you can see exactly who has done what, and when they did it.

Want2bSupermum Mon 13-Apr-15 20:44:17

I had the same thing once and I ended up doing the work myself. I worked 40hrs/wk in addition to my course when I was student so every minute was filled with me doing something. Most people respected this but one group was particularly awful. They even sneered at me for doing the work without them. It made me so mad because I knew one of the guys had parents who were going without to finance their child through university.

Learn from this and NEVER agree to be in a group with any of these people again. After my first year I had a list of people I wouldn't be in a group with. If they were put in my group I approached the lecturer and asked for them to be swapped. I had a couple of lecturers say I had to learn to work with others who had different working styles and told them that my issue was with their working style, it was the fact that they didn't work. It limited my learning and in the workplace these people would be fired/coast in low level positions for not performing.

FaFoutis Mon 13-Apr-15 20:45:42

For future reference there is usually an alternative option to the group work. This is for students who can't work in a group for whatever reason, your childcare commitments could possibly give you a reason.

NapoleonsNose Mon 13-Apr-15 20:46:05

Group work as a mature student with other committments is shit. Ive finished uni now, but for the first two years was stuck with a bunch of 18/19 year old lads - I was the only female on my course - who pissed about and wasted time over everything. In the end, I did, and I know I shouldn't have, end up doing most of the work myself. Luckily a lot of it was not massively important in the whole grand scheme of things, but it still used to piss me off.

By the third year, a few of them had grown up a bit and realised that they needed to knuckle down, and we actually managed to get some reasonable bits of work done. It was still a ballache though trying to get them to commit to meetings. Maybe set up a facebook group? That worked quite well for some of our assignments. Good luck OP!

nameuschangeus Mon 13-Apr-15 20:50:57

I feel your pain OP. To be honest I usually end up doing all the work myself as it's easier than trying to rally other students to do it. I'd rather do that than take the crap mark from them not pulling their weight. I know it's not the answer but I'm lost as to another option tbh.

18yearstooold Mon 13-Apr-15 20:53:31

Have moodle, have no idea what a wiki is?

I've screen shots of all the arrangements that have subsequently been cancelled

tabulahrasa Mon 13-Apr-15 20:57:17

Luckily when I was at uni, the people I ended up in groups with pulled their weight...but we still split it up by email and worked on separate sections, we really only met up to co-ordinate before the actual presentations.

18yearstooold Mon 13-Apr-15 21:02:54

We've split the research up, trying to arrange a meeting to collate

In other groups they've all sent stuff via email then I've ended up writing the whole thing or everyone has written something and we've pulled the best bits from each

This group though are a nightmare plus it's a presentation so we need to see how it reads, timings etc etc

Goldmandra Mon 13-Apr-15 21:02:56

Have you asked your tutor about whether it will be possible to work on your own for future projects?

18yearstooold Mon 13-Apr-15 21:05:25

We can't work by ourselves but my tutor has apparently noted how patient I've been during the group work process -I think that's the polite way of acknowledging I've been dropped in the shit!

houseofnerds Mon 13-Apr-15 21:10:15

Group work in and of itself is shit. I wrote ours and handed a script, but by this point our group was down to two of us.
One died, was in hospital with pg complications, and the only other one left was trying to organise a memorial service and was so terrified of public speaking that he was prescribed Valium, which he washed down with vodka on the morning. He was so terrified of the conference itself that he couldn't bring himself to do the research project required to present, so muggins had to.

I finished it on a long haul flight the day before the conference. Overnight flight, and I got two hours sleep and went in for the walk-through. He read the script, but tripped over all of the words. It was pretty grim.

These were mature students. Mature students are not the answer to the group work problem, really.

houseofnerds Mon 13-Apr-15 21:12:03

Sorry, one died, one was in hosp - it wasn't the pg one that died...

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