Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hating the Past: Group Projects

It was a major trend in college.  Group work seems to be academia's favorite way to do assignments.  Professors would preach the "this is how you do it in the real world" meme. Except it was always bullshit.  If someone doesn't carry their weight in the real world they get axed, plain and simple.  In school, you were lucky to have two people in a group willing and able to work.  How many times did you find yourself in situations where you are carrying the burden of the group? 

The most specific example I can muster is my senior year where I was completing my core business courses with a Business Information Systems Course.  The entire semester you were to work on a group project with a team.  I was placed in a group with two female basketball players and the star men's basketball player.  We were supposed to place everything on a team issued jump drive that the teacher had labeled as if it were some kind of experiment on how to take care of this flash drive.  The flash drive was lost at some point along with some workpapers and the teacher decided to punish the group entirely.  When work was done it was done incorrectly, one of the team members struggled to read PowerPoint's feed to them.  We also had a group test where one of the team members was caught cheating.  It was a disaster.  The teacher said he was giving the group a B- for the year and I flipped.  He immediately threw out the "real world" meme to which I emphatically squashed.  I had internships and a job offer at this point and said that you can see what I am working with.  He didn't care.

College's don't get it.  Not all kids in college are created equal and people should be doing their own work far more often.  Students should also be graded on an individual basis at all times.  And in the "real world" chances are you are going to have better team members especially in a smaller setting where there is no place to hide.  If people don't pull their weight in the corporate world they are fired, or at least prevented from rising in the company. 

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