Although group projects are a core part of K-12 education, professors and students at UNC are questioning whether they are really beneficial in a university setting.
Like many students at UNC, junior Brooke Bekoff said she has had trouble getting group members to do their fair share of work.
“It’s very rare to be put in a group where everyone contributes equally, and usually one person ends up picking up the slack for the other team members, so it’s not really a collaborative learning experience because it’s usually one person having to do the work of four people,” she said.
Professor Keith Sawyer in the School of Education studies creativity and innovation in education with a focus on team collaboration. He said collaborative assignments should be graded by keeping both the product of the group and each individual student in mind.
“For my final team project I’m creating a Slack channel for each team, so these four people are going to work on this project. So these four people, I create for them a Slack channel, and my requirement is that I have access to that Slack channel so I’ll be able to see all of their communication among the team so I can use that to go back through and see if there’s one member of the team who never posts to Slack, they’re not going to get as many points,” he said.