College Success

College & COVID-19: Working Through Your Remote Team Projects

With classes transitioning online, many college students are tasked with coordinating group projects. It may be challenging to coordinate schedules when students are in different time zones while also facing different personal circumstances So, where does one begin?

Here are a few ideas to consider for improving your experience.

Find the best communication medium. With peers in different areas across the world, it may be best to start with asking your peers which communication platform would work best for everyone. If the project started before the online transition, perhaps groups may need to shift from texting to free group communication platforms depending on international phone plans.

Set a tentative timeline based on the scope of the project. Setting a tentative deadline around deliverables for your team may help keep your team moving. For instance, you can set a weekly deadline for each part of the project to be completed.

Actively communicate. During these difficult times, obstacles may arise and interfere with your ability to complete your work. Please try to let your peers know if circumstances have changed, and that you need more time. You do not necessarily need to explain the reason to your peers, especially if the reason is personal. However, letting your peers know up front about a conflict will allow for the group to reorganize deadlines moving forward.

Give and take. If you have a team member that is in a different time zone, see if there is a way to arrange meetings that will accommodate them to the best of the team’s ability. For instance, perhaps it is a matter of having your group stay up late a few nights and vice versa. If a group member cannot attend a meeting, consider forming an agenda beforehand and having one team member serve as a scribe. Notes from the meeting can then be relayed to the individual who missed the meeting. Be sure to ask for their thoughts to make sure everyone’s voice is being heard.

Do not be afraid to talk to your professor or teaching assistants. Your professors and teaching assistants are here to help you. Given that every group project is different, they would be able to provide the best expertise as to how to come up with a game plan that works for everyone involved moving forward.

Remember that you are human. If deadlines become overwhelming, and your personal circumstances become more difficult, know that there are resources through your school to connect with.

Practice self-care. Self-care looks different for everyone. You can set anywhere from fifteen minutes to a few hours to do things that you love to help you stay grounded during this stressful time.

Please know that you are loved and surrounded by resources to connect with. I am rooting for you!

Annie Blumenfeld is a Senior at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

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