Tag Archives: class

How To Ace Group Projects

Filed under: College Life, Education, Tips - Angelina
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BookRenter Blogger Biography Cameron Tranchemontagne

Some people love working in groups – it comes naturally to them and they are happy to collaborate with, or manage, a team towards the completion of a common goal. For others, working on group projects can be the most frustrating, infuriating, annoying, and/or confounding principles of higher education. Class assignment groups are mixed with students that have unique points of view and methods to approaching tasks. Often times, people working together in groups (by assignment or even by choice) may not agree on everything and may have difficulty working together as a team.

Here is some advice on how to make the best out of your next team project:

1. Assign Roles

Everyone in the group should do a fair share of the work, but how do you know who should do what? Divide up the project tasks so that each group member has at least one responsibility. I recommend letting everyone choose their own roles since each member will have a better idea of their own strengths and weaknesses, which will result in a happier experience and overall better outcome. If there is a certain task that nobody wants to be assigned to, try breaking that task up into smaller parts for everyone to complete together, or perhaps excuse whoever takes the role from doing as much as everyone else. Assigning group duties will ensure everyone is pulling their own weight and working together towards completion.

2. Coordinate

Conflicts can easily happen when trying to schedule a meeting time between several college students. Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to find a time between everyone’s classes, work, activities, and social life (wait, do those exist in college?), but a great way to find out everyone’s availability is to compare schedules on websites such as Doodle. Be sure to schedule at least the next group meeting (if not all of them) before departing, otherwise it will be hard enough just trying to coordinate with everyone not face-to-face. Speaking of coordinating; be sure to establish the most reliable form of communication.

3. Communicate

Constant and frequent communication is key. If there isn’t clear communication between team members, problems happen. Once, I ended up researching the same stuff as my group partner and we had to ask for an extension. Another time, a team member didn’t even know he was in our group because he was absent the day groups were assigned and nobody let him know. On more than one occasion, my groups have had fundamental disagreements about the main thesis of our presentation. Get my point? Headaches like these can easily be avoided if communication is kept through each member of the group. Teams cannot function efficiently without communication. Everyone should have a way of contacting each group member (email, phone number, etc.). I suggest creating a contact sheet for everyone to have. Don’t be the group that gets left stranded on presentation day because the team member responsible for bringing in the finished product is nowhere to be found, and no one has his/her phone number.

 4. Collaborate Online

Collaborate together online outside of meetings to continue working on the project. Email works, but may be the slowest and not the most effective method for group projects. Facebook has become a great place for people to link up and join group pages to share ideas and files. I like to use Google Drive whenever I am working in a group project. Google Drive is just like Microsoft Suite software, except it is all free and stored online in The Cloud.  Google Drive can be used for word documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, drawings, maps, and more through downloadable apps. Why use email to send files back and forth when everyone can work remotely on the same file at the same time, live! I recommend checking it out if you haven’t already because you can even see who has contributed to what sections of the file. And this is a perfect way to work on the project without having to have everyone get together. All work can be assessed at any time, from any location with internet.

Group projects are not always easy, but working together as a team is a life skill necessary for college and beyond.  It will come easier with more practice and with time, you will be an expert on how to work as a team.

What do you do to ace your team projects? Share with us in a comment below!

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Group Project Tips

Filed under: College Life, Education, Social Life/Relationships, Tips - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography





Working on group projects can be one of the most frustrating things you will face during your college years. Even if you’re assigned a topic you like, there’s always a good chance you will be stuck with people who, even though they might be nice people, don’t like to contribute their fair share of the work. Next time you’re faced with the task of a group project, there are some things you can do to make sure you don’t end up doing all the work alone.

1. Pick Your Team

If possible, pick your own group. Throughout the first week or two of class, keep an eye on your classmates to find the ones who are studious and good workers. These students usually sit in the first few rows of the classroom, rarely miss a class, and are typically taking notes. You’ll want these people on your team!

2. Organize Meetings

Right away, it’s a good idea to combine schedules and pick a good time for everyone to meet up to work on the project. You don’t have to meet up a million times, but remind everyone that the more productive you are during that first meeting, the less you’ll all have to do later.

3. Assign Tasks

Have everyone pick sections of the project to complete. Figure out what people are best at and share the work evenly. Maybe one person does the research, while the others type out the report, and others put everything into a presentation.

4. Use Google Docs

The best thing about using Google Docs is that it can be shared between everyone at the same time. You can all work on the material together (or even at different locations) all at once and it automatically saves your work. It is not a file you have to send back in forth, but rather available anywhere as long as you have internet access. You can even see who has last made an edit and you can see who is contributing.

Remember, you can’t force everyone to do their work, but chances are if most of your team is doing their part, it’ll motivate everyone to contribute and not be the one to not help.

What tips do you have for successful group projects?

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Friendly Distractions

Filed under: College Life, Education, Social Life/Relationships, Tips - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham Blogger Biography





Friends are great and I’m glad to have them. I’m not always happy to have certain friends in my class though. There are some friends that you love to death, but make you want to run for the door sometimes. Now picture that person sitting with you every single day in class while you’re trying to be a good student! This has happened to me several times. Without losing them as a friend, I’ve figured out a few ways to get myself through it and so will you!

1. Find Out Which Classes Your Friends Are In

Find out in advance so it won’t be a shock the day of. Talk to that person about how they are in class and what they want to get out of it. This will help you figure out what you’re up against. Just take a deep breath and know it’s only one semester!

2. Distance Yourself

Make a conscious decision to not sit by a friend. There were days when I wanted to sit next to my friend so that I could talk to them about my weekend, but I knew I couldn’t. They never got offended and actually understood why. In the end, he dropped the class and I got an A. Sometimes you really do just need to sit somewhere else, and it will make all the difference.

3. Talk To Them

Don’t be passive aggressive. Don’t be aggressive, either. Just be a friend and let them know that you can’t slack off in this class. If that means not sitting by them, don’t be afraid to tell them the truth. From experience, honesty is the best policy. Your friend will appreciate you not lying to them, and you will appreciate the better grade at the end of the semester.

Like I said, friends are great. I love my friends, but I have to look after myself and make sure I’m doing everything I can to succeed. If you’re reading this and you’ve been on the other side of the equation…We love you, and we just want both of us to be better in class! This semester I have a class with my husband for the first time, let’s hope I won’t need to use my own tips on him!

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3 Tips To A Successful School Year

Filed under: College Life, Education, Tips - Angelina
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Blogger Bio





Welcome back – school is now back in session! If you are like me, the idea of sitting in a classroom for hours and reading a textbook in a subject you might not give two hoots about does not sound nearly as appealing as laying in the warm sun somewhere. You might also be feeling overwhelmed with all the stuff you need to do now. As a college student in the same situation, I am drowning beneath a pile of need to do’s, and forgot to do’s.  I do have some good news; there is hope for you! With the helpful tips from this blog, you will soon be the organized envy of the slackers populating your class.

1) Make a To-Do List

It may seem as simple and common sense as breathing but if you do not currently do this, you will be surprised at the difference it makes.  You may think you can remember everything without writing it down, but do not take the risk.  Start out by listing your classes. Beneath each class list what you have to do for the next class period and what you will have to do for the class period after that. This way, you will stay on top of what needs to be done.

2) Get Ahead

College students are busy, busy, busy. That is just a simple fact.  Between classes, studying, homework, working a part time job, seeing friends, and maintaining your sanity, it is almost difficult to plan when you can breathe.  That is why it is so important to take advantage of your time when you have it.  If you have extra time, try to do some work to get ahead of the game!

3) Make Friends in Class

If you miss a day or if you did not understand something, knowing someone in the class who understands or can give you notes from what you missed can really help you out. Plus, you will have made a friend at the same time!

These are just a few tips to make your college experience as easy as possible.  Whether you are a freshman or a returning student, these tips that will make your year much more successful.

Good Luck This Year!

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How to Become a Morning Person

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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By guest blogger Serena Piper
Journalism major at the University of Oregon. Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Oregon. Magazine, freelance blogger, future world traveler. In her spare time, she likes to read as many books as she can, go for long drives, and peruse news websites. Hopes to one day write for National Geographic.

Sometimes having early morning classes is inevitable. No matter how hard we may try to plan our school schedules to start after noon, there’s usually always that one class that forces us to wake up early. If you push that snooze button more than once on the days of those morning classes, these tips are for you. And I’m not talking about the usual 2 or 3 cups of coffee routine.

The first tip I have, which you may not like if you’re a night owl, is to go to bed earlier! Remember those days when you were 8 years old and your parents made you go to bed when it was still light out? I’m not talking about that early, but aim to be in bed by 10. On days you have classes that start later, you can afford to go to bed later, so it only makes sense that if you have to get up early, you should go to bed early, too. It helps to put anything electronic, (including your cell phone) away and out of sight. Try reading a book, writing, whatever… you want to induce that sleepy state, and staring at anything with a bright light won’t get you there.

Next, find a source of motivation! Plan a really delicious breakfast so you have something yummy to look forward to. Cereal and toast get boring, so mix it up with yogurt and granola with a cut up banana, fruit salad with a dollop of whipped cream, a nice omelet with peppers and onions, or even scrambled eggs, bacon, and pancakes! Rewarding yourself for following through on your goal is a great way to keep repeating it.

Sometimes you need more than just an alarm clock to get you out of bed. Photo by Paul Li.

The minute your alarm wakes you up, try to ninja jump yourself out of bed. Not literally, of course, but try to get out of bed quickly enough so that you don’t have time to think about pushing the snooze button…or worse, skipping that first class. Beat your thoughts to the punch and, like Nike says, just do it!

Another tip I’ve heard works well is chasing your alarm clock. There are alarmclocks made specifically for people who have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning and from the many reviews they’ve collected, the majority says they work! The only downside I see to this is if you live in a dorm and your roommate doesn’t have to wake up until a couple hours after you. The sound of your alarm clock leaping off your bedside table could potentially wake them up too! So, note to self: check with roommate before investing in Clocky.

Of course there are the tried and true ways of making it easier to get out of bed in the morning, such as working out right away or doing yoga, drinking a cold glass of water to jolt your system awake, or creating a feel-good pump up playlist of music you love. So try a couple methods and then stick to whatever works best for you. Maybe next term you’ll get luckier in getting afternoon classes!

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