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Thanks to Saturn
digimind
thwack
There's been a very prominent change in the way classes are run these days, at least at RIT.

When I first started college, there were two types of classes: Science/Technology classes which have lectures, labs and exams; and Liberal Arts classes which have lectures, exams and term papers.

This quarter, at least for me, there is only one type of class: Group-Oriented. All 4 of the classes I'm taking right now involve group work, either in the form of in-class discussions or actual group projects.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying there's nothing inherently wrong with the idea of group work. But it's become the latest fad or something, and now ALL professors are teaching their classes this way. This is where the problem is.

Right now, I have FOUR groups to keep tabs with for 3 different classes. Yes, that's right, in one of those classes alone I'm in two different groups! The class is split into groups to separate ways - one 3-way and one 6-way - and one third of the members in each 6-way are members of one of the three 3-ways. Kind of like teams and committees I guess.

Perhaps this is how the real corporate world works these days, but this is overkill for an educational environment. Yes, expose us to group work - that's a good thing. But too much of this good thing just causes confusion and burnout.

But, just to slap myself in the face here a little, I realize that I certainly wouldn't prefer taking these same classes without working in groups. That would mean having to do a research paper and 3 presentations on my own. So I guess my complaint here really is just that the group work is too demanding to be involved in 4 groups at a time in such a fast-paced system. Each group project alone is enough to keep me busy for a full quarter. Trying to tackle 4 at once is just overwhelming.

Also, I haven't run into this myself, but many people have tight schedules. If my only opportunity to work with group members on a project outside of class is on one day of the week for a few hours in the evening... how can 4 different groups arrange meetings times to all of which I can attend?

I guess I really don't have a solution in mind. Any ideas out there?

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I always hated group work in school - I was usually a commuter, as well as a parent, which made it even more difficult to do group work. Then there's always someone who doesn't do their share of the work.

Looking at your schedule, I can see each of the courses having room for group work. I'm not sure that it's that schools are all focusing on group work for all classes, you just happened to have a semester now with all the groupwork classes.

But yes, group work is demanding, and having 4 at the same time is probably enough to drive you to distraction. Best of luck. The end is in sight - hang in there.

Sorry, no solutions, your best hope is that everyone is as dedicated as everyone else, and they are willing to do whatever is necessary to get together. Schedule the less flexible ones first. Can any of the group work be done via an e-mail listserve?

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