Teamwork makes the dream work: Group contracts and reflections for better group project communication and outcomes

Group work whether online or in-person almost always begets one or more emails that read “I’d really rather not do group work. Can I complete this project alone?”. Students, limited on time and juggling a number of courses and responsibilities rarely get a thrill at the thought of a “group project”. Despite our best efforts as instructors it can be difficult to inspire in students the notion that life and work in general are often group projects, and one can rarely go at it alone. We want our students to experience collaborative and active learning, and group work is often one way of doing this on a smaller, more intimate scale (Hesterman, 2016). How can we relieve the pressure and the fear that one group member feels will become their solo burden under the name “group project”? Group contracts and reflections may be a good place to start.

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