How can I work well on my group project while staying socially distanced in my UCF apartment?

If you ask most college graduates, they will tell you that group projects were the bane of their existence in school. It's a well-known joke that group projects mean one person does all the work while everybody gets a good grade. Although I am sure you are excited to get your group project out of the way, 2020 has put up a few roadblocks. Meeting your team in-person is much more difficult, some members might be out of town, and all you have is a GroupMe with a bunch of people you might not have even met yet! While it may seem intimidating right now, working well with your group in a socially-distanced manner is easily achievable, all from the comfort of your UCF apartment.

Zoom University

I am sure you are (maybe a little too) familiar with Zoom by now, or at least familiar with the main video call app your professors use. Hopping on a video call with your team members must be coordinated and focused. To do this well, go ahead and reach out to the people you're paired with. Send them a text, email, etc. and set up a date and time to start your project. If you find that one of your group members lives close to you, feel free invite them over to your apartment's patio/balcony and sit on opposite ends to stay socially distant! I would highly recommend splitting up your meetings into 2-3 days so you and your team can get other responsibilities done as well. When you meet with your team, make sure you have a stable connection to your UCF apartment's Wi-Fi. You don't want any of your work to be lost!

Zoom allows you to share your screen, which is a great tool to use when referencing PowerPoints or other class materials. Sharing your screen also can show them what your project looks like so far. In the group projects I've completed this semester, however, I found Google Drive to be my best friend. Drive allows everybody to contribute to a document separately or simultaneously; you can type a paragraph or two that your group members can edit or expand while you're off at fitness class! I highly recommend creating a document and sharing it with your team through their Google accounts so everybody can work on the document simultaneously while in your video call too. This will streamline your progress and keep everybody on the same page, literally.

Splitting Up Work

Nobody wants to be the only one doing the project. To avoid any negative feelings in your team, the first thing you want to address in your video call is who does what. This can actually improve your project beyond just making sure everyone does equal work; if your group project requires a visual aid (poster, photograph, Prezi), one of your teammates might be more artistically inclined than the others and want to make your project stand out. If you have a knack for creative or analytical writing, stake your claim as the one in charge of writing the literary body of your task.

Personally, I find making bibliographies to be the most frustrating and mentally draining part of class assignments. If my audience is really interested in where I got my information, why don't I just tell them the title and they can Google it? However, in my most recent group project, I had a member who absolutely loved creating a "Works Cited" page because she loved organizing her references and making her paper look professional. If a group member has a knack or passion for something, let them strut their stuff!

Group projects, though they carry a negative connotation, can actually be a lot of fun with the right assembly and is easily attainable from the comfort of your UCF apartment. Making sure the project workflow is organized keeps you and your team energized. Scheduling video calls and sharing a document that everybody can work on is the best way to earn an A in 2020 and might even set you up with new friends for 2021!

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