Date: Mar 25, 1995 4:37 PM
Subject: group projects

Rex Boggs writes:

>There are two issues - if the project is a group project, how do you stop
>someone from riding the coattails of a more ambitious student? And if work
>is done outside of class, how do you ensure that the work submitted by the
>student is their own work?
>We have tended to solve the first problem by not having group projects.

Isn't that amazing, how we put the need to assign a fair grade so far ahead
of helping kids learn that we do stuff like that?

This is the first semester I've had serious group projects out of class.
As far as I can tell there's only one group that seems to have a couple of
people doing all the work, and that's largely because one guy has such a
domineering personality (the worst kind of ex-military officer -- this is a
college class) that he drags everyone else along whether they want to come
or not. Since most of the students in the class are learning so much, I'm
willing to put up with this (although of course I'd rather not, and any
ideas on how to deal with a guy like that are welcomed). And only about
25% of the grade is on group work, so I'm not as brave as I'd like to be.

I've found that the less paranoid I am about students cheating, getting by
on someone else's coattails, etc. the less they cheat, get by on someone
else's coattails, etc.

Judy Roitman, Mathematics Department
Univ. of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66049