View Full Version : Unreliable lab partners
10-16-03, 01:03 PM
I should have expected freshmen lack a sense of responsibility and now it's come back to bite me in the ass. The lab is only 1 day a week, and a Thursday. That's not so bad, so we all agreed to send eachothers results by Sunday. Sunday rolls around, no numbers.
GREAT! The lab report is due the following Thursday and now I have to finish it after work. I type up what I can(which isn't much) and send out a reminder Sunday night with my results...
Monday, no email.
Tuesday, no email. Wrote to the TA in a state of panic as I have a midterm Wednesday night, almost 0 time to work on said report.
Wednesday, I've got mail! Yayyyy!
But it's only from one person out of the 4, not nearly enough to finish the monster report. So now I sit here at home Thursday having wasted one of my sick days to work on this damned useless report. I've gotten emails from all but one person but all the numbers are incomplete. Am I the only one who read the chapter? Well considering I spend half my labs telling other people how to do their own, I AM the only one who reads the material ahead of time. :"> :"> :">
Awesome. Not only do I work 34 hours each week, I take 14 credit hours of classes. More than any of those lazy @#%$. The only one I've forgiven is the one who sent me her numbers on Wednesday because she's a nursing student, and works during the week, and is hot.
But that doesn't make up for the @#%$ I'm gonna get when I go back to work on Monday. Sonofabitch.
@#%$ GROUP WORK!!! I have a hard enough time depending on myself to get stuff done before the due date, having to rely on other people as well is horse-@#%$. It's even more annoying when you are actually on top of things, and your grade cannonballs because a group member not only doesn't come, but they refuse to talk to you.
"Hey is this XXXXX?"
"Uh, yeah? Whose this?"
"It's XXXXX, I'm your lab partner? I was wondering about your part of the lab report, it's due Friday."
"Hey man, I'm at a party right now."
"That's cool, I just needed to know..."
I don't pay as much money as I do to fail a class because someone simply doesn't give a @#%$ about their grade. The next group assignment I get, I'm going straight to the Professor and I'm not leaving til I can do it on my own. 'Feeling out' people in class so you can pick the one that isn't going to screw your grade is NOT part of the process. If we didn't learn how to coordinate group effort in highschool, and if we didn't want to do it then, why the hell should college be any different? The only difference is now we are paying money to do @#%$ we absolutely, positively don't want to do.
10-16-03, 01:18 PM
...and then you get out into the real world and get paid the salary of one person to do the job of 3 other people because you are the only one that actually does most of the work, and the other people sit around talking to each other or surfing the internet... (Back In Black)
Delissandra Splitshadow - Veteran Deceiver of the Circle of Unseen Hands
Grandmaster Poisoner (250), Master Potter (191), Grandmaster Lush (200)
Cause I'm back on the track
And I'm beatin' the flack
Nobody's gonna get me on another rap
10-16-03, 04:42 PM
The worst group members I had did all the necesary work, they just did the bare minimum. --------------------------
Gyorg Lavode, The original Phin-o-matic Safehouse Moderator
Unguilded Assassin Badass
of the 65th Moon over Xegony
In high school it seemed that I always got grouped with the idiot jocks whenever there was a group lab we needed to do. I guess it was because they saw that I was both shy and looked somewhat smart. Unfortunately for them, I also enjoyed making other people do as much work as possible.
10-17-03, 12:45 PM
Quote:In high school it seemed that I always got grouped with the idiot jocks whenever there was a group lab we needed to do. I guess it was because they saw that I was both shy and looked somewhat smart. Unfortunately for them, I also enjoyed making other people do as much work as possible.
LOL I wasn't a jock in high school but I loved doing that. Look around for the biggest dork you can find and tell him that hey your my partner and be nice for the period and he will be so glad someone is talking to him that he will gladly do all the work you want. Even easier on girls if you just be cute and flirt a little a bit and if no one likes them they wil gladly work.
10-17-03, 05:16 PM
My worst group project had to be the one in my Web Design class my junior year at FSU. Our project was to design a website for a local business, in out case a real-estate firm. It was actually kind of interesting setting it up so they could easily update the listings and stuff. I got randomly paired up with three drunken frat boys who were failing the class. Three drunken frat boys.
Guess who did all the work?
That's right, me.
Guess who also got interesting revenge?
Yep, me again.
We were supposed to put notes in the HTML code saying who did what pages. My regular pages all just had my name on them. The other pages all said things like "Jerry was supposed to do this page but he's been drunk for the past week so I did it" and "Jim should have done this but he's a useless tool and I didn't feel like failing because of him."
Fortunately the professor thought it was hillarious I ended up with an A in the class and the three frat boys all failed. Unfortunately the firm closed a few years ago and they took their website down, but until they did you could look in the page source and see all of those notes still there.
10-18-03, 07:34 AM
Flashbacks from High School... I was the dork who always did the work, and all the lazy jerks would try to mooch off me. Once we were supposed to write a play and act it out in freshman english. I scheduled a time for my group (four people + me) to come and write it.
Nobody came. But I am a bitch. I have a revenge streak. I wrote what I thought was the most revengeful piece of work I ever had in my life. They did so little work that they didn't get to see the script beforehand.
The play (god I wish I still had it somewhere, I typed it on my 386) was about two female babysitters. Me and another girl were the baby sitters. One guy was the father, one girl was the mother, and a boy was the boy being babysitted (a boy who happened to make fun of me all the time, huge football player etc).
Basically the two babysitters are making a killing selling child's organs on the black market. The organ store was "Liquidation Sales," a clothing store in Anchorage at the time, that was worse than shopping at Goodwill. You shopped there if you smelled bad and you were fashion challenged.
I guess you had to be there, but LOL.... they sure hated me after that, and the English teacher couldn't stop laughing. Throughout the whole play, people would pick up their scripts, read it in the most bored, "I hate doing this" voice they could muster. It made it extremely funny.
EDIT: The really good part, was our first performance was in front of the entire 9th grade english class. And the group couldn't say they didn't work on it or they wouldn't get a good grade. But they failed their part of the acting section because they didn't memorize their parts. Edited by: Kinare at: 10/18/03 7:36 am
10-18-03, 08:56 AM
I'm one of those dorky girls who didn't have many guys talking to her, but my angle was a little different. I wouldn't do all the work or stick with a lazy partner just for a little attention...I would pick out the lazy partners and do all the work just to make sure I got an A.
When it comes to any type of written assignment, or anything having to do with research, I know I can bring home the goods better than most. When I was in high school I had two sources of income: babysitting and ghost writing papers for people. (My fee was $15 a paper...pretty steep at the time, but I never had a "professional" job bring in less than an A.) When it came to group projects, I wouldn't mind doing all the work just because that ensured total control over the assignment, and consequently, over the grade.
10-18-03, 10:15 AM
I don't think getting in the habit of doing all the work is a good idea. There are things you can't do all by yourself and you need ti know how to wirj un a group environment for many jobs you get, at least in technical fields.
10-18-03, 11:03 AM
Gyorg is drunk.
Our business teacher had a great idea. We write our own recommendations for the midterm reports. Those who said they were leaders became the leaders of the group projects. They become responsible for the group. Everyone else gets graded on their individual work, but the leader gets graded on the group's total project. Good way of making sure everything gets done .
Glip the Gnome
10-18-03, 12:15 PM
Quote:I don't think getting in the habit of doing all the work is a good idea.
When its either that or it doesnt get done at all, its an easy choice to make.
What I usually did in highschool was just assign small, meaningless crap to everyone else that didnt really matter if they completed it or not. That way, if they did do it -- great, we had something neat to add to our final project. If not, no big loss. Then I'd just take the rest and do it myself so I could make sure it got done right.
10-18-03, 12:39 PM
I should add a little to that last post since it kind of made me look like the dumbass who pused people around. I am no moron but I HATED my VB class and earth science. Just about any other class I would try and do all the work if I could but those two classes I used to above tactics on any group work and lab work. In earth science lab I would just sleep throughtout the whole class...what can possibly worse than listening to someone talk about dirt and rocks.
10-18-03, 01:40 PM
There's a difference between your standard, undergraduate collaborations and professionally based projects. For one thing, once you start talking about people's careers, they will tend to show quite a bit more responsibility with regard to contributing their share of effort. Unless they "know" somebody at the top of the food chain, sooner or later their apathy will be reflected in their lack of advancement and/or lack of employment. The same is not necessarily true for most obligatory academic partnerships at the undergraduate level, where there's "only" a grade on the line...not an income.
Exceptions to this would be upper division coursework in technical majors, where you can feel relatively secure that most of the boneheads have been weeded out via natural selection in the pre-requisite classes. Independent research (usually part of a level 400 curriculum) and post-graduate studies are the same way. It's easier to trust people at the higher levels, because they probably wouldn't be there if they didn't want to be, or if they weren't willing to do the work.
Group projects are meant to teach people to trust each other, and to work together to accomplish a common goal. That's great and all, except that if introduced into a mixed population of students, where half of them care and half of them don't (which would be your average level 100/200 undergrad class), all you do is penalize the students who want to do well, and show them that collaborative assignments result in mediocre work and a lowered grade point average.
The whole point of teamwork is to accomplish more than you could as an individual. Well, if students are finding they do WORSE when they're paired up with other people, then the point gets kind of lost, don't you think? I say, if schools really want to teach students the value of collaboration, then group projects should be withheld until 300/400 coursework...period.
I've had poor group members even in a 400 level, credit for undergrad studies course(Medical Anthropology). Seniors were more concerned with selecting where to do their pre-med than passing the class, which is understandable, but not exaclty acceptable.
10-18-03, 02:16 PM
Not every idiot gets weeded out. All those idiots that you do all the work for get to keep going, especially in classes that have marks hindged in projects rather than tests.
The key is to either do all the work and make it clear to your TA that you did or assign work to everyone and make it clear to your TA who was responsible for what.
It's not always fair to do all the work yourself, because you might be denying someone else the chance to learn because you're unwilling to risk getting anything less than perfect. I can understand if someone isn't going to work you stepping in for the sake of your grade, but I've never cared if I got a few percent lower because someone else learned how to do something.
10-18-03, 04:02 PM
I don't mind helping peeps out if they're struggling and I think I can assist. Or if I don't know how to explain it, I'll call the TA over for them because I know it's hard to sometimes admit you need help. That's something entirely different than finding people who don't want to do the work, and who don't want to be taking the class even, but they're doing so to fill a core requirement.
A good example would be my freshman biology laboratory. All of us had to write a paper in scientific format about the effects of temperature and solvent stress on the selective permeability of cytoplasmic membranes. As a group we basically tortured some beet samples...dipping them in acetone and ethanol...freezing them and boiling them...etc. Then we soaked the damaged beet samples in distilled water and measured the amount of pigmentation leakage via spectrophotometer.
There were 3 people, including myself, assigned to our group. One girl would ditch half the labs, and she actually stopped showing up altogether after we ran the experiment. We never heard from her again, and the TA finally told us she had dropped. The other girl wanted to be a dental hygienist. She didn't care about the class, or about learning how to write a scientific paper...she just wanted to pass...and she was barely doing that.
Where was it wrong for me to pick these people knowing I'd have full control of the paper? In the end everyone was happy...I got the paper I wanted and this other girl got an A to help her grade out. For people who think that's wrong, I have to ask: What would have been the "right" thing to do...harp her to contribute so I could get a lower grade? Why is it my job to babysit apathetic people and try to force them to care about their grades, and possibly bring my own grades down in the process?
P.S. I never said that upper divison classes weed out all of the laydowns, but statistically your odds of finding them GREATLY increase once you go down to the 100/200 course numbers.
**Edit** Grammatical repairs. Ohhhhhh...the irony. Edited by: Forceofmotion1 at: 10/18/03 4:12 pm
10-18-03, 04:23 PM
In one of my classes we had 3 people in the group. For 1 lab, the guy just did it all. "Need any help?" "nope". The other 2 of us were completely compitant, he just wouldn't let us help.
Some people prefer to do that but it comes down to the point where your in 4 classes like this where if you don't devide and conquer, your going to have work 4 times harder than you are supposed to for the class.
Now I'll admit that everyone that was still in school at my school was willing to work. In fact I'd say they'd do it just to not screw the other group members. But when it comes down to it, you have to learn how to work WITH not just FOR group members who aren't doing their part. You have to know how to devide up a project and manage it between multiple people. You have to know how to pay to people's strong suits. (If you realize someone can't speak well, have them doing background research instead of speaches, don't give the ME the job of designing the circuitry, etc.)
None if the work I do now is solo. I have my part but it's part of a whole. I'm not to the point where i'm calling the shots about who does what but I certainly understand the intricacies about working with different personalities. Someone who is very clean, someone who doesn't want to work a lot. Someine who wants to have a hand in everything. Someone who wants to consult you about every question, etc.
10-18-03, 11:50 PM
I ended up doing the vast majority of my "group" work myself. Sure, encouraging coders to work together sounds nice on paper but it never seems to work out that way. Well, that and reading my old classmates attempts at code used to make me insane.
I honestly fear that I'll end up doing maintenance on their stuff some day. Celeris Tujimson
Maurading Deceiver of The Nameless
Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.
E. W. Dijkstra
10-20-03, 07:18 AM
When I was in college, they made us do all of our experiments solo - except for in Physics where we had to work in groups because the experiments weren't physically do-able by one person. However, in all instances, we had to write up our own reports with our own findings. We were not allowed to use someone else's data Edited by: Dragynphyre at: 10/20/03 7:19 am
10-20-03, 10:02 AM
Coding projects with other people are definately not easy nor fun. And every time I'm workin on an EE project I'm thinking, "Well, I don't want to simplify this or document it, etc" and then I think "Oh @#%$, what if I have to go out, figure out how it works (again) and fix it in a year. . . Maybe I will complete the documentation."
10-20-03, 10:16 AM
I don't think there's anything wrong with taking group members that don't really care about learning the material or about their grades in order to have control. Other than showing a high need for control (a predictor for cardiac problems in later life, by the by) it's an acceptable way to get a good grade.
What I mean is for group situations when you're assigned the group, it's not fair to do the work that other people are fully willing to do just because they won't do them the exact way you want to. How would you like it if, thanks to a very controlling group member who did everything, you didn't have the knoweldge / practise necessary to do well on a test?
I'm not specifically targetting anyone with these comments. I'm just saying that there's more to life than just grades. I'd rather walk away from an assigned group with people having learned something than with assurance that in situations where I have complete control I know I do well. There aren't as many of those in the professional world as one would like to think.
10-20-03, 12:19 PM
Quote:Other than showing a high need for control
*snicker* Picking people who are happy to leave me alone is not showing a high need for control. It just means I like to get the work done without the hassle and grief of fighting with other people. It's not like I haven't had equal partnerships in my academic history, but those were people with whom I was already familiar...so I knew they were trustworthy and competent.
When thrown into a random group assignment with strangers, however, I will never try to take a leadership stance. I'm not a dominant personality by any stretch of the imagination, and I cave fast in the face of a social confrontation. (Hence my preference for people who will just go with the flow in the absence of more qualified candidates.)
Quote:I'm just saying that there's more to life than just grades.
And for you that very well may true, but there are people out there who have scholarships on the line, or for whom their grades will help them make the life they want for themselves...such as going to some type of post-graduate school or landing an internship they want.
As for people talking about collaboration in the "real world" and in professions...I feel I should take this moment to say that I'm 30 years old. I've been in the "real world" since my dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer when I was 19. I've done the Army thing (major compromise and teamwork there); I've been an assistant manager for an optometrist office (learning how to delegate tasks to other people with varying personalties); and I worked in the casino industry for 4 years as a security officer and eventually a blackjack dealer. (ULTRA amounts of tongue biting involved there -- YOU try to keep smiling when some drunk guy wipes his hand on your sleeve after spilling beer on himself.)
It's not like I haven't been around the block a time or two...and I STILL say that I'm not paying thousands of dollars on my education to fight with other people over stuff that concerns MY grades. There's nothing fair about it, and if someone wants to say that "life isn't fair," well that's true, but there are a lot more inequities involved with employment than you see on most class syllabi...such as sexual harassment, corporate politics, ladder climbers who may not have the most talent but know how to play the game, and the inability to do much about it if you want to keep your job.
These things are't taught in a formal course where you're graded on your ability to "deal" with them; they're stuff you learn with life experience. So why should learning how to "get along" with people be any different? Not everyone's a people person, so isn't it a bit discriminatory? (Sorry, had to throw that in there...kind of playing devil's advocate now. LOL)