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Profs. Encourage Group Work, but Not Collaboration


Photo by Photo4jenifer via Flickr //CC 2.0

Choose a partner, they say, and submit only one copy of your assignment. This project, they announce, will be done in groups of four. Professors love group work and let's face it, so do we. Well, that is if you're not the one doing all the work (sorry, not sorry).  

Group work, in actuality, reflects what we'll be doing in our professional life. It's kind of like baby networking. We're developing our communication skills, embracing diverse perspectives, and creating more inventive solutions. 

In the real world, we'll have to deal with other people and their ideas. So, why not start now in our cozy Penn bubble

But it's kinda hard to this when professors – you know, the ones promoting it in the first place – put a kibosh on the whole collaboration thing. 

They keep wagging their fingers and saying, "stop working together on exams" or "cheating on tests also leads to cheating in relationships". Cheating, collaborating, they're basically the same thing. 

And no duh I've been working with my peers. If we shouldn't be working with others, then what was the point of all these group labs, group presentations, and numerous other group assignments? Has all this preparation been for nothing? 

I just don't get it. Do you want us to work together or not? Aren't you, the professors, always saying how you and your team are writing a research paper together? Then, what's so wrong if I text my friend while we take this canvas quiz? So, please stop with all this "no talking with others during finals" business. It's really hindering the development of my social skills.