Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Group Presentations

I am at the time during the college semester that my students are working on group projects as they need to do a group presentation. It is amazing to me how they often overlook certain details and how they often forget the importance of appearance and perception.

If you are working with other people in a group, one of the first things that should be done is make sure you have each other's contact information. I have watched groups fail to give each other a phone number or an e-mail address, so it is impossible to get a hold of certain members outside of the class.

I am also amazed at how groups respond when I give them class time to work on the presentation. Yes, it is fine with me if they go to the library to do research or if they go to the computer lab. What amazes me is the number of students who simply view this as an opportunity to leave early. In fact, I observed one group that always used this "free time" as an excuse to leave early. Then, the session before the group was supposed to present, they asked if they could have an extra session because they were not ready. Of course they were not ready, they never used the time provided. Had the group taken advantage of the time I provided and still needed extra time, I probably would have given it to them. Students, be advised, when you are given time to work on a project, impress the teacher and use it. We do take notice.

Then there is the issue of students not only ignoring the class time but also refusing, or be unwilling, to put time into the presentation outside of class. The do not want to get together. They seem to have this feeling that if each member of the group works on one portion of the project, they do not need to get together to see how it all fits together. They just get up there and present. It is not even that they realize this is a gamble, they actually expect it to work out well.

The last aspect which amazes me is how students who miss a group presentation do not consider how it affects everyone. First of all, the student is unable to make up this assignment. If they miss another presentation, where they are the only one presenting, they can do it another time (the loss points, but it can be done). Since this is a group presentation, it cannot be made up. In addition, if a group is expecting a person to be there with some material and the person never shows, the rest of the members have to scramble to cover that portion.

Most of this is just plain old common sense which is why it amazes me how much of it the students do not know.