Alexandra Gramatikas is a loyal reader of our blog. She wrote in with the suggestion that many of our readers might be interested in how to improve their group work, whether in high school or graduate school. She is not a salesperson, nor a shill. Rather, she is sharing her experiences with others so that that they may benefit.
So I asked if she’d like to write a guest post. And she agreed. So here is her suggestion on how to improve group work: use GroupTable.
The day that I finally decided to go back to school was also the day that I decided that “I was going to do things right.” When I initially departed for the next chapter in my career of education—the elusive college experience that every high school senior dreams about—I was excited about what I was going to be when I departed four years later. Well, that four years, came and went in the blink of an eye; and I was shocked when I primarily found myself happy that I was able to graduate on time! Between countless experiences that you are forced to navigate on your own for the first time, getting involved, keeping events and due dates in order, and a million and one other things that you are forced to balance, finishing on time was an accomplishment in itself—my diploma should read “Bachelors in Multi-tasking.” So when I made the decision to go back for my masters a year later, I wanted to make sure that I was prepared for the organization that would be demanded of me between both my full time work schedule and my courses.
The first semester was trying, as I suspected it would. Keeping track of work, social, and school life became my new pastime. The upside was that I was much better at prioritizing—my Saturdays were spent doing school work, rather than at the bar with friends. The downside, however, was a big down. In the Masters program, your fellow classmates are also working individuals—many with families—making it nearly impossible to meet or collaborate for group projects—which are a defining characteristic of the graduate program.
Group projects quickly became the bane of my existence in my first semester of graduate school.
Until, one of my group members in my second semester course suggested we use an online program called GroupTable. Immediately, I retorted that we should just use Google groups, or something similar. However, she insisted that GroupTable was the answer to our group project woes—and within a week, we were all praising her for her persistence.
GroupTable is a group collaboration software that allows you to effectively manage all of your group projects, study groups, organizations and any other groups looking to improve their productivity. We were able to:
- Share and revise documents in our group’s online binder.
- Assign tasks and deadlines to keep projects on track.
- Create events where we can share meeting minutes, files and discussions pertaining to the event.
- View our group calendar to see all upcoming tasks and events.
- Meet virtually through GroupTable’s live chat, allowing us to communicate without having to be in one location.
- Communicate through the group discussion board—enabling us to contribute on our own time, while organizing all our discussions in one spot. No more filtering through multiple email threads to find that file or comment from a group member.
- Receive alerts via email each time an update was made.
GroupTable immediately improved the quality of life for each one of us. No longer was my Saturdays spent wasting time gathering multiple variations of papers, meeting in a distant location, or cleaning up the mess after a miscommunication over who was supposed to write what and when.
I loved GroupTable so much that I used its e-vite feature to invite my friends from undergrad to a group specifically for us, for our “Clown-cations” (inside joke). Now we’re able to coordinate all of our schedules—there are ten of us—to determine our next vacation! We’ve even placed this year’s football schedule into the calendar, and are commenting on the event “wall” to determine who is going to which game this year, and who will be responsible for what at the tailgate!
Not only has GroupTable allowed me to find organization among my school life, but it’s coordinating my social life as well. My group has already set up our classes for next semester, and my girlfriends and I have already determined who’s in charge of the air mattress and beer for the Oklahoma vs FSU game. The only thing that is frustrating about GroupTable is that I didn’t know about it in undergrad.
As someone who is getting a second round of practice on organizing multiple elements in life, my only advice is to utilize the tools around you—and for me, that tool is GroupTable.
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