In BIOL 251, Intro to Ecology and Evolution, we were split into groups to produce and deliver a presentation, where our presentation was about the influence of pesticides on bird populations. This group collaboration was more challenging than others I had encountered because our class was mostly online with little in-class time to meet with/ discuss with our groups. However, overall I think we did a good job of dividing the slides up for each person on what they wanted to present and we were able to collaborate effectively to ensure we had all of the required parts of the assignment. I enjoyed being able to hear other groupmates’ opinions on different aspects of the presentation to make a better outcome in the end.
As a part of my cell and molecular pillar, I took BIOL 360, Developmental Biology. A major part of the lab portion of that class was working together as a group to develop a research project and be able to collaborate effectively to accomplish the goals of the project. We decided on measuring how different polluted water sources in Farmville affected the heart rates of daphnia, which is often used to detect harmful water conditions. This project required a lot of out-of-class collaboration and having to rely on each other to do their part of the project when needed. To do this we communicated together as a group to understand everyone’s needs and requirements to ensure a successful product at the end of the semester. I think we collaborated effectively between all of us and we were able to present our findings on a poster at the spring research showcase!
BIOL 475, Animal Behavior, was another class that required a lot of out-of-class time accountability requirements to produce a successful outcome for the research projects throughout the semester. The groups that I was assigned were great groups and we were able to collaborate together very effectively and successfully. We were able to rely on each other to meet expectations for the most part. This project was one of my favorite projects to work on for an in-class assignment and the ability to work in a group setting successfully was important for the success of everyone in the group and to produce a finished product at the end of the semester. One of the projects that we completed was how fiddler crabs responded to known and unknown females. The success of this project is largely because all of the group members were able to work together!
Overall, from experiences of being able to choose individuals to be in a group vs groups being chosen for me made a difference in the overall product in the end, with groups I was able to choose had a better overall outcome because I had either previously worked with them or know their quality of work. Also, I have learned when working with peers that I am not familiar with, I found that communication and structure make a huge difference with expectations for the final outcome.