Issues with groupwork? Here's what you can do.

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Danielle MENGEL

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Issues with groupwork? Here's what you can do.

What are your rights and responsibilities with group work?

Why must I do group assessments?
We all wonder why, WHY?!, group assignments must happen; it can seem like an impossible task. From the uni's perspective, they like to have students work in groups because:
- Group work assessments are designed to offer students a rich learning experience and help them apply industry-relevant teamwork skills in a real-world environment.
- Group work can encourage intercultural learning and problem solving skill building.
- Group work can encourage students to build important inter-personal connections with other students, thereby giving the students stronger peer support for the duration of their degree.

In reality, it might not work out that way...
Students often complain that group work assessments are unfair - that it places the group product above the efforts of individuals and that progress can be hindered by difficult group dynamics and lack of effective communication. So what can you do to navigate group assessments and make sure you're being treated fairly?

Be aware of uni Policy
The following has been taken from La Trobe Uni's Assessment Policy:
- When teamwork is an explicit learning outcome major group assessment tasks may be used and students should be adequately prepared to work in a team and assisted in understanding and managing the dynamics of group work.
- When group assessment tasks are used in a subject, staff should ensure that students are given clear instructions about what components of the task (if any) are to be prepared individually, and what are group activities.
- Normally, no more than 30% of the final mark for any subject would be determined using group assessment.
- Have a look at the Charter of Student Rights & Responsibilities within which it outlines that, among other things, you have the right to "An educational environment that actively develops and enriches your learning" and that you are responsible for "Meeting your commitments to other students including contributions to group work".

Your options for resolution:
- If you feel that a group you're in isn't functioning appropriately or that policy hasn't been properly applied, you have the right to complain and seek support - we suggest you start by discussing it with your tutor or subject coordinator and that you act upon the issues as soon as you can.
- If you are not able to contribute to a group assessment appropriately for whatever reason, you have a responsibility to the other group members to address this - we suggest you start with your tutor or subject coordinator and that you communicate with them about the issue/s as soon as they are apparent.
- If you're not sure what your options are or you would like some assistance with the process, you have the option to seek the advice of the LTSU's Advocacy team. Our team is happy to walk you through your options to resolve your issues with group assessments!