Following the recent closure of The University of Manchester’s non-essential sites and teaching facilities due to coronavirus measures, our masters’ students are having to tackle their group work in creative ways in order to produce excellent results. The current situation tests students’ ability to work around each other, remain empathetic and be flexible, all of which are qualities employers will want to see evidence of in interviews.
MSc Marketing students Maria Isabel Orts Mercadillo and Benjamin Varley offered their insight into how they are managing group projects in the current climate.
1. Be an active member of the group
It’s important for each member to contribute what they can and in these difficult circumstances, it’s vital for each member to be active and to communicate as often and as effectively as possible in order for the group to achieve the best result. These circumstances are tough, but if each member puts in a concerted effort, it will be an absolute breeze!
2. Divide work efficiently
In most group situations, a group leader or project manager tends to take control naturally, but when the group are not able to meet in person, this might not automatically happen. Therefore, it’s a good idea to set out firm roles as a team for each member from the offset, so that each person knows what they’re responsible for and how they can best contribute.
You can do this by discussing individual strengths and weaknesses in order to determine who is best suited to each role. For example, your group may need a team leader, a proof-reader, someone who will liaise with staff, and someone who will is responsible for creating the PowerPoint presentation.
Self-electing yourself for tasks you feel you would be good at is helpful, which takes us back to our first point about being an active participant.
3. Use social media to your advantage
Facebook group calls and chats are useful tools for staying in touch with your fellow group members. This allows you to speak to them easily regardless of where they are in the world. Other useful platforms include Skype and Whatsapp. Zoom also offers a free plan for online meetings, with video and audio conferencing.
4. Pick up the phone!
Importantly, whether it’s with an individual member of your group or with several, actually speaking to them rather than sending messages on social media can be a far more efficient method of communication. It can be hard to interpret messages at times, so actually speaking to someone could save time and allow you to have more meaningful and in-depth exchanges with one another. Use the tools mentioned above to do so.
5. Google Drive
Google Drive enables you to store work you have produced online and to share it with other users easily without having to send documents over email. You can use up to 15GB for free.