The Results of a Little Collaboration

The Results of a Little Collaboration

Chris Fliss, Chelsey Zibell, Sarah Liben, and I talked a for a while today about the Small Group Communication Rules List and decided to change some of them up a little bit. We met via Zoom and recorded the conversation, and Chris has a video up that shows (and abridges!) our collaboration, but since the list is finished, I may as well give the completed set of rules. Here goes:

  1. The most important goal for a group in this class would be to complete the stated task(s).
  2. Groups are most productive when a leader steps forward to run meetings and listens to group members to determine task allocation.
  3. We should have a high degree of tolerance for group members who are late to synchronous meetings; however, if it begins to negatively impact the group’s productivity, there should be consequences.
    1. Consequences include: a warning; involving the teacher/professor; excommunication from the group if necessary
  4. Collaborating with group members cordially is as important as completing the group task.
  5. Criticism should be kept constructive with possible solutions to strengthen group outcomes.
  6. Address smaller conflicts to reduce conflict escalation.
  7. All group members should strive toward one overarching goal that has been agreed upon by all.
  8. Majority rule is the best method of group decision making.
  9. If one group member is not pulling his or her weight, the group leader should confront that person privately.
    1. Consequences include: a warning; involving the teacher/professor; excommunication from the group if necessary
  10. Everyone in the group should receive the same grade for group projects.

I thought that using Zoom and recording it was a highly efficient and effective way to do this project. In all, it took approximately an hour and a half (though the video was cut into about 45 minutes). While that seems like it would be a long time to work on something, since our schedules were all free at that time we were able to just keep working until it was finished up and satisfactory to everybody. Additionally, being face-to-face through the process really helped smooth things over and allowed us to discuss freely and organically – something quite difficult when using a chain of emails or even instant messages. I think we all got a lot more out of it because of this, and were even able to plan for future collaborative projects for the class!


4 thoughts on “The Results of a Little Collaboration

  1. Hi Shania,

    Of all of your group expectations, I think I enjoyed number five the most: “Criticism should be kept constructive with possible solutions to strengthen group outcomes.” I feel like constructive criticism is key when it comes to being productive in a group. Nothing good comes out of bashing another person’s work.

    I found two of your group expectations interesting. I thought it was hilarious that you guys used the word “excommunication” when someone doesn’t follow the rules. I grew up near Amish farmers, who are known to have excommunicated a person or two, so I always associate that word with their culture.

    Anyway, the second interesting note was number 10, which says everyone should have the same grade. At first, I agreed with that statement. But after doing some research on grading group work individually, I changed my mind. Our group answered it like this: Group projects should receive two scores: one score for the individual process and self-reflection and another group score for the final product. I’m curious to know if you guys discussed number 10 at length or just called it good.

  2. As a teacher, having a chance to hear your discussion was enlightening (and useful). I feel like I learned as much from what didn’t make its way to your final revision as what did!

    I was also struck by the wittiness of being “excommunicated.” It’s funny because it’s true!

    Great work by all of you.

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