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Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Oct 2 / Roxanne Brazell

What’s with all the SLIS Group Projects?

ALA@WSU LogoAre you honing your skills or just taking classes and droning through group projects? Group collaboration is more important than we sometimes realize. I know it can be challenging to be asked to form a team with individuals you don’t know, but group projects are an opportunity for us to grow and develop new skills. When you work with students that think and learn differently than you do it can help you embrace the ideas of others. This is important as you work on student group projects, because each student has strengths and areas that need improvement. Working as a team creates a balance for the group and can significantly enhance your group course projects.

I mentioned “working as a team”, which means collaborating and actively participating with other students in your team as you each use your strengths to develop and complete a group project. Throughout this process you learn to negotiate with other student’s and consider your limitations, as well as, your colleagues. Working in a team helps refine your leadership skills. You can definitely learn how to diplomatically approach your team members with new ideas and constructive criticism. You also gain new knowledge on a topic or technology skills from working with your peers. How many of us did not know how to use web conferencing or cloud storage tools before we entered graduate school. Student colleagues in my first few graduate courses helped me get acclimated to a few technologies.

I have been in some amazing groups during some of my classes and we created advanced-level professional work. Amazing groups have one thing in common, active participation from all group members who have the same goal in mind. They give their best to the group project without fail even in the face of outside commitments.

Are you still wondering why is this important? The reality is that your professional work will mirror the student group collaboration process. You will be asked to work with people in your organization that you don’t know at some point. You will each have different skill levels and you will have to figure out how to complete some projects that your supervisor may not be able to determine who would be the best fit for the job. So, you will be thrown into a role that does not fit your skills at some time in your career. Knowing how to effectively and fairly negotiate with a colleague who is stellar at the job you have been handed is worth taking the time to explore.

Group collaboration also offers you a hands-on opportunity to learn from your peers and take on different team roles (i.e. content strategist, designer, editor, project lead, etc.) during your graduate coursework. Our profession is about working with others whether it is a patron or a colleague, so use your group projects as positive learning experiences to listen and recognize what other individuals are communicating to you, so you can identify solutions to meet your patrons needs and your organization’s goals through teamwork.

Find out how you can hone your collaboration skills with the ALA@Wayne!

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