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Assignment and Study Help

Assignment and library skills

Groupwork at TAFE Qld

There will be many occasions at TAFE Queensland when you will be required to work on group and team projects or activities. Classrooms rely on group discussions, while group projects can see students work together to deliver an assignment or presentation.

These projects can often involve a large task such as:

  • Researching and writing an assignment
  • Working to develop and deliver on a design brief
  • Deliver a presentation on a particular topic.  

To work effectively as team it is essential that individual group members take the time to get to know and understand one another, communicate effectively and plan/work together to complete the task or achieve a goal. 

There are four general stages of any group work activity.

  • familiarisation
  • planning and preparation
  • implementation
  • completion

This guide will step you through these stages to allow you to effectively deliver results with, and through, your group/team. 

Remember that skills developed while working in groups will help you throughout your studies and are transferrable skills valued by future employers.

Familiarisation is the stage where everyone on the group gets to know a little bit about each other, their strengths, and what role they may like to play on the team. The time you spend discussing these interests will become valuable when you move onto later stages in the group's work towards the goal. It will also help the group understand where they may have strengths and/or weaknesses. 

Establish a set of rules or requirements for the way to behave and interact with each other. 

This will allow the team to function effectively into the future. You should also establish clear lines of communications as well as specific responsibilities within the group - such as a notetaker for meetings, and someone to lead/facilitate group discussions.

You should make sure everyone understand what the team needs to achieve/produce

Being clear about the final outcomes for the team is essential. Make sure the team understands:

  • How much time is required/expected from you teacher
  • What is the assessment criteria
  • Will you be assessed as a group or as individuals

 

Plan a group/team meeting

From the beginning you should plan regular group meeting. For these meetings you should

  • Set a time frame – start and finish on set times.
  • Prepare a plan for the meeting or agenda – this avoids group members deviating from the task.
  • Create a schedule of future meetings.

Planning a group assignment

This is where your group needs to determine exactly what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, and who should do what parts of the project.

Begin by agreeing on the different elements of a task. For example a presentation might need background research, writing, editing, creating a PowerPoint presentation, allocation of speaking roles and a rehearsal). 

Next, agree on the best way of achieving these tasks by assigning them to particular people within the group, ensuring that their is an appropriate balance in roles and time commitments for all group members. As a result of knowing each other, you should be able to divide tasks up according to existing skills and knowledge in the group. 

Make an action plan of what needs to be done, by who, and by when working towards a final deadline. Use the Assigning roles in team template attached to the guide. 

  • Roles – establish roles for group members (Organising a team and Assigning roles).
  • Divide the assignment into tasks and responsibilities for each team member (Group Work Task Manager).
  • Complete an action plan.

As your group members go about implementing their actions, you will need to maintain effective communication to ensure that you meet your can deliver your work on time, and ensure good quality in your work. Here are some key tips for promoting:

  • Share telephone numbers and email addresses to facilitate contact between members of the group
  • You could set up an email distribution list, so that issues or problems can be flagged as they arise (ie. a group member can't deliver an item because of a personal event). 
  • Establish regular meeting for the whole group using your email calendar. These could be at a particular time, day and week (ie. meet for 1hr at 2pm every Tuesday, every week). Review your action plan at every meeting.
  • Meetings can be in person or online (ie. Skpye). But every meeting should have a notetaker and someone responsible for revising and distributing the action plan.  

 

Having these communication pathways in place will mean you can address any problems that emerge in the project. This will prevent your team from running into issues because:

  • Every team member is accountable to communicating with the group
  • Your group can re-set plans for sub-tasks of the assignment.
  • Your group can re-check or re-set roles for group members (particularly if a group member needs to leave the group).

​If you maintain these communication pathways, then if difficulties arise you can clearly explain to your teacher what has happened and what you can do.

Yes you can!

The finalisation of your project can be the most difficult time. It is important to pay close attention to detail, get rid of parts that don't belong and review the final assignment to ensure that it fits together. It is important for the group to allow time in their action plan for this to occur. 

Here are some tips for delivering two types of assignments

Presentation

When you are making group presentations:

  • Have one group member responsible for revising the script to ensure it connects together
  • Rehearse the presentation as a group, making sure that any problems are addressed and you are happy with the final rehearsal
  • Change speakers at strategic points, like when themes change or slides are switched - ensuring an appropriate handover to the next person

Report

Writing a group report can be challenging, as individuals bring their own style and language to the area they are responsible for writing in the action plan. To bring the work together, nominate one individual responsible for a final edit of the report. They should be looking to ensure:

  • authors have used the same tense (do not confuse tense like happen/happened/happening)
  • authors are writing in the same voice and person
  • individual sections of the report flow on from one another
  • Use of references, units and abbreviations is consistent (use our Reference Guide for help here)

 

Resources

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