April is a busy month for every Ewha student, with loads of school work and midterm exams near at hand. Among the tons of enormous assignments, group presentations can truly be characterized as the essence of university life, in terms of both stress and effort that students must bear. Freshmen especially find group projects challenging and novel at the same time, not having experienced the like in their high school classrooms.
Bae Ah-ran (International Studies, 4) recalls doing a group project when she was a junior. Bae happened to team up with colleagues that she did not really know well and divided the work equally for a project in a class taught in English.
Bae said, “There was a student who didn’t even show up at meetings, using her buy schedule as an excuse. Since she was not present most of the time we gathered on campus, we reassigned her work as merely summarizing other teammates’ research to submit to the professor in a neat report format. Nevertheless, she missed the deadline for the report and I had to stay up all night correcting her English grammar mistakes when summarizing was all she had to do.”
Since group assignments are graded collectively, responsibility can be a heavy burden on all team members. Ban Soo-yean (English Education, 2) also has an unforgettable memory when it comes to group presentations. “For a high creativity score, my teammates and I decided to design our presentation as a role play. When all the roles were assigned and we started practicing the skit, one of my teammates suddenly decided to drop the course. Since she informed us prior to the actual presentation, our team didn’t really face the worst situation, but still, I think we would have received a better grade if we had practiced flawlessly with our initial roles,” said Ban.
Experienced student say that everyone needs to learn some strategies when preparing for a group project in order to obtain the most rewarding outcome. Unfortunately, those valuable lessons of scoring well at group projects tend to be learned over the years, making many first year students repeat the same mistakes their seniors made before.
Kim Bo-ram (Political Science & Diplomacy, 4) said, “Now that I am in my final year at Ewha, I have almost become an expert at preparing group projects. There clearly are tactics you have to keep in mind to get a high grade on presentations. As for me, the foremost importance lies in meeting hardworking teammates. It’s better to team up with someone you know, or at least gather information about the person beforehand, since this will help you avoid meeting free riders. Moreover, it’s good to be creative, but you have to be sure not to omit important details. Please follow all the instructions that the professor gives.”
Lecturer Lee So-young (English Literature) says, “I always include group presentations in my curriculum to encourage every student to speak. But sometimes, aside from being poor at English, students often go out of focus and talk nonsense, even when I have given instructions about what topics I would like them to cover. I think the most important tactic in getting a good group presentation score is to communicate continuously with the professor during the preparation period.”
In addition to the content of a presentation, Professor Suh Seung-jin (
“You have to realize the significance of eye contact with the audience. Appropriately distribute you focuses so as for the audience to feel that you are always looking at them. When the size of the audience is too large, be sure to slow down and articulate every word you speak. And, please go through a lot of rehearsals, videotaping yourself before the actual presentation. Recording yourself will help you discover your hidden habits ad nervous tics that you definitely want to correct. Such practices may also help you when you apply for a job and have a formal interview later on,” said Suh