The University of Alberta recognizes collaboration as an important part of intellectual and academic development. Collaboration can produce creative and innovative ideas and research; however, it can also be complicated. As outlined in the Research and Scholarship Integrity Policy, any and all collaboration must be appropriately acknowledged.
Group projects are one way to capitalize on the benefits of collaboration. In this context, the whole is certainly greater than the sum of its parts. It takes creativity for a group of individual students to learn how to work together effectively. Students working on group projects should be aware of the following:
- If your name is on the assignment, you are responsible for everything in that assignment, whether or not you participated in every section. Carefully review all the material submitted by other students in your group.
- Ask questions of the professor if your group is confused about expectations.
- It may be helpful to include a section describing the role of each student within the group, if appropriate for that project.
- Understand that everyone has different approaches to their work. Your group, whether you were assigned or chose to work together, will likely have to negotiate your process before you even begin the assignment.
- It is helpful for the group to agree upon a mechanism to deal with any conflict that arises as you work together.
There is a difference between participating in scholarly discussions or debates with your colleagues and engaging in inappropriate collaboration on assignments intended to be completed individually.
One way to work appropriately with your colleagues is to discuss concepts, research and ideas together and then go your separate ways to write your individual assignments.