Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Hack Library Blog addresses the groupwork issue that many of us in the MLIS program were concerned about at the beginning of the semester: Playing Nicely With Others: Doing Group Work

As I posted earlier as part of an assignment, I have many of the same qualms. When reading that the changes "can be really off-putting for someone who is... a) shy b) used to studying alone c) new to the program, thus not knowing anyone and d) a control freak", I really did LOL as I checked them off. I am all of those!

One of my group projects this semester was a great experience: I learned a lot about a new subject from my fellow students' personal history and research; we planned and executed two quality papers; I think we communicated expectations well and were flexible when possible. The other was less rewarding, although I did gain some experience. I found that I was less willing to work with people who didn't consider my schedule when planning meetings (although the same group met in the evenings and weekends during Part 1 of the project, group meetings for Part 2 were repeatedly held on weekday mornings despite my objections and requests for alternate time slots). I discussed that briefly with the professor, so that it would be taken into consideration during grading. I didn't want to skate on my classmates' work, but I also wanted to receive appropriate credit for the work I had done. It was harder to feel connected to the group's goals when editing a paper that I didn't contribute to in the early stages -- I was unsure as to the intended purpose of some sections and didn't have the same sense of ownership and authority over the collaborative work. However, my negative experience underscores the conviction that expectations for process should be set out at the beginning of the project, openly discussed, and revisited as necessary during the course of the assignment (even when that's uncomfortable).

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