With Nov. 20 quickly approaching, professors are trying to pack in as much course material before on-campus students leave.
During the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, students are taking classes all over the place. From the physical classroom, campus dorms, off-campus housing or in their homes, a lot of students are attending classes on Zoom.
Professors had to adapt their class presentations and assignments to meet the virtual demands that fall 2020 presented. But what about every college student’s favorite task —professor assigned group projects?
Group projects are hard in a regular semester, let alone in a semester encumbered with a pandemic. If a student is lucky, he or she is paired with the class overachievers who always respond to emails and believe in equal work distribution. If the student is not so lucky, he or she is partnered with unresponsive mooches who show up for the day of the presentation not knowing anything.
These projects can be difficult. On one hand, a student has someone else to lean on when researching or putting together a presentation. On the other, they are relying on someone who they do not know outside of the realms of having a class together.
Often times, professors are understanding in this and offer students the option of a group grade and an individual grade. Most students begin to panic when professors say the group collectively gets one grade. This means the overachiever who ends up doing all of the work and the slacker both get the same grade. This does not seem fair, does it?
A group leader often emerges and organizes meeting dates at the library or study lounge areas. Once in-person, the group work (most of the time) can be figured out. But what do you do when you attend the class virtually?
Anyone who attends a Zoom class knows that there is usually less than a handful of people who turn on their cameras and participate — oftentimes the professor and a few of the students. Now students are entering group projects knowing even less about their peers. Are they in-person or remote? Do they check their emails often? Are they doing their fair share?
When these group projects are assigned during the semester, it is likely that you will see your groupmates in class at least once a week. But in today’s coronavirus world, every attempt at communication must be done through the computer. What is a student supposed to do when emails go without response?
Professors must empathize with the students’ situations and not have their grades determined by the motivation of a classmate. I am sure some of their colleagues are not responding to emails or aiding in department work.