WPI Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Computer Science Department

Top 12 Tips for Groups

  • All group efforts work better if each member does more than his or her share of the work.

  • Come to class and group meetings on time every day.

  • Do all assignments and be prepared to discuss them.

  • Notify group members of absences.

  • Share information.

  • Respect the views and ideas of others. Practice active listening -- focus on the speaker, try to understand themes and major concepts, ask questions to delve deeper into the speaker's meaning. Encourage all group members to participate, and avoid dominating the discussion yourself. Be polite. "May I ask a question?" makes questions seem less like an attack. Phrase questions and discussions around issues, not individuals.

  • When ground rules are violated by one or more students, the group should not ignore it, and should invoke appropriate consequences.

  • Monitor group process regularly rather than waiting until it is too late to solve group problems. Address areas of conflict rather than allowing them to fester. Rooting out the issues underlying conflict can be important to solving problems (not just difficulties in group dynamics, but problems related to the group's project).

  • Take notes at group meetings. End each meeting by preparing a list of "to-do" items, indicating who is primarily responsible for each task.

  • Start each meeting with progress reports on previous tasks.

  • Perform ongoing review of each other's work. Answer two questions: "What is especially good or interesting about this work product?" and "How could this product be improved?" or, for written work, "What questions does this work leave unanswered?"

  • Most jobs require group problem-solving skills. Take advantage of this opportunity to develop your abilities in leadership and followership.

{From Prof. Judy Miller, Compiled from suggestions from Barbara Duch, University of Delaware, and Ethelynda Harding, Cal State University Fresno.}


[WPI] [CS]

dcb@cs.wpi.edu / Mon Oct 28 15:53:06 EST 2002