Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Advice for group work at Simmons SLIS

Group projects have been one of the defining features of my time at Simmons SLIS. In the past four semesters I’ve come up with some best practices that I try to follow (often based on mistakes I’ve made while working on teams!). 

  1. Get everyone’s phone number ASAP even if it seems invasive when you first meet, even if you’ll be communicating primarily by email. Having a backup method of communication is crucial.
  2. Collaboratively set an agenda for meetings when you schedule them and review it when you start.
  3. Book a study room if you’re meeting in person, or set up zoom ahead of time if you’re online. Make sure everyone knows where you’re meeting.
  4. Start meetings with informal conversation.
  5. Don’t wait more than five minutes after the start time to start taking care of business, even if everyone hasn’t arrived yet.
  6. Be aware of your own habits in meetings and how you respond to different group dynamics.
  7. Assume the best if things aren’t going smoothly. Nobody wants to let down the group and disappear. In one of my first group projects at Simmons, two of the three people in the group (one of them was me!) came to group meetings preoccupied and upset about things going on in our lives and were inevitably distracted. Sometimes people get in car accidents on the way to a meeting or have their wifi suddenly and completely give out. Giving everyone the benefit of the doubt is always a good idea.
  8. Trust each other to take care of tasks. In my mind, the whole point of group work is that it’s more work than one person could reasonably do. Dividing tasks clearly and then trusting everyone to do their part is essential to getting the project done.
  9. Keep things friendly, stay professional, and keep in touch! You never know who is going to show up in another class or workplace, especially in the musical chairs world of LIS staffing. You want to be thrilled when someone from a group project works at the place you’re applying to or applies to work at your organization down the road.
  10. Have perspective. The point of a group project is not to produce something perfect. It’s to learn to work in a group and become familiar with the material!