Ethics of Being A Group Member

Bismillahirrahmaanirraheem…

Assalamualaikum Wrt. Wbt.

Alhammdulillah it is a new start to the year and the semester. Time flies really fast and I am now in my year 3. I am at the halfway mark and I wish that time will slow down a little bit. That would mean I will have to cherish all the time left and improve myself even further. Being a Psychology student, we have loaaaaads of group assignments. Every subject will bound to have at least one group assignment that weighs around 40% of our total marks. The idea of group assignment is really exciting if you have every group member taking pride in completing the tasks. However reality is not as sweet as we hope it would be.

I know this post won’t be able to reach out to many but I am going to post it anyway because besides ranting, I hope you who are reading this will change your attitude if you are one of those who have been doing injustice to your group.

All of these are based on my own experience dealing in various group assignments. I am not saying that I am the best group member one could ask for, but I am just trying my best to carry out the amanah that is entrusted to us by our lecturers. It is also an amanah by Allah SWT to perform every task beautifully and most of the time, we forgot that we will be held accountable for our actions. K, before I start becoming an Ustazah, let’s begin with the ethics of being a group member.

1. START EARLY

The beginning of the new semester, lecturers will never fail to repeat their mantra of “start your assignments early, start your assignments early, start your assignments early”. Even how much they may sound like a broken radio, it amuses me at how oblivious students are to the instruction. When someone in the group initiates to start the discussion, everyone will be like “yeah! okay!” and the rest is history….until one or two week/s before the deadline where people start to panic. Worst, when the person who initiated kept reminding the group will either not receive any response, or if he/she is lucky, he/she will receive unsatisfactory excuses such as “sorry, I’m busy with another assignment” or “sorry, I am busy with my club”.

It is important to start early because it will enable the group to consult the lecturer in charged of the assignment. Lecturer’s input is reallyyyyyyyyy extremelyyyyyyyy important. Having a first draft is important because most of the time, you won’t be able to truly understand what the lecturer expects. First drafts are usually rejected anyway and imagine if you do not consult your lecturer at all. Fuhhh… All the best for your assignment marks, man.

2. CONSULT LECTURER AS A GROUP

When you have agreed with your group members to consult the lecturer, needless to say, everyone.must.be.there. It is highlyyyyyy unethical to suddenly whatsapp in the group 15 minutes before the appointment that you are unable to attend the meeting due to invalid reason or come 20 minutes late, or worst, MIA (missing in action). Allow me to rant a little bit yeah? I had the worst experience ever whereby my group agreed to consult our lecturer and so I emailed him/her to set an appointment. On the actual day, a group member said that he/she can’t make it 15 minutes before the meeting. Two other members went MIA. Then there’s me and the lecturer. Uhhuhh… After the first failed attempt consultation, we agreed to set up another meeting. You guessed it right. The same thing happened but it was better because one member eventually appeared 20 minutes through the meeting (between me and the lecturer). Finally the third meeting then everyone was present.It was emotionally and mentally torturing for me. Yes, I cried.

The thing is, group members will want to cover up for each other’s back. In my case, I could still help them out the first time. But when the same thing happens, the lecturers could already figure out your working attitude and you should not blame anyone but yourself for receiving low marks.

3. BE CONSISTENT EVEN SMALL ACTIONS

Yes yes yes. For this to happen, look back at point number one- you need to start early. Delegation of tasks needs to be specified clearly at the very beginning and you should start doing research. Usually lecturers will give around two months to prepare assignments and looking up for resources will usually take a long time.This is where you need to be consistent with your readings. I know. It’s boringgggg but hey! We are already in university and if you are seeking pleasure only, I don’t think you are at the right place. University is a place where you develop and mature, and eventually becoming a person who is able to think critically. We are in to serve God and humanity. This is a sacrifice that we have to take.

4. KEEP UPDATING THE GROUP

Usually in a group there will be at least one person who volunteers to be the compiler cum editor. The task of the compiler is not easy. He/She has to make sure the formatting is according to APA style, the points are coherent, the words used are accurate, citation and referencing are all in place, ask the person who did the part to edit if there’s a need, etc. Another experience that I had, I asked a group member to redo his/her part because it did not achieve the required expectation of our topic. The second time he/she handed me his/her part, there was not any much difference. The person said that he/she did not understand what to do. So I listed out one by one what needed to  be done. He/she passed back to me again and there were major changes but it still did not achieve our topic’s objective and worse, plagiarism. The person then gave up and refused to do anything about it and guess who had to do it? Uhhuhhh… So remember that whenever you do not do your part, there is someone else who has to do it.
Making sure that the assignment flows is really important because the lecturer will know if the assignment is being done as a group or it is done individually but compiled haphazardly. It just requires one person to submit to the compiler late and the group assignment will be out of flow. Yes, you may do a great write up and that is the very reason why you are late at submitting to the compiler. However, it will not do any justice to yourself and the group if you send in one or two hours before the submission cz it is impossible to make any editing at such short period of time if your writing style is totally different from the compiler’s. It will then be apparent as though there are two different people doing the assignment.

So yes, it is not the right time to give surprises and please keep updating the group of your progress. Even if you are the compiler, update the group of the final product one day before handing in so that group members will be able to give feedback if let’s say there is something wrong with the format, lecturer’s name, etc; those minute details that we may overlook.

5. DO YOUR OWN ASSIGNMENT

Neverrr ask anyone to do your assignment. It is not ethical and come on la, it’s your grades. With money, everything goes round. I cannot comprehend at how people have the heart to actually submit an assignment which is not theirs. How can someone look at their grades with pride knowing that it is not him/her who did the job? Even if you do not pay a third party but the third party is your good friend, it is unethical. You may think as if you asking your friend sincerely to help you, but you forgot that it might be detrimental to your group. There’s a whole load of difference between guiding and asking your friend to do the job for you. 
6. INFORM OF ANY CHALLENGES

I really do not mind if my group members are not proficient in the English language. That’s the least of my concern. All I need is their ideas and I’ll try to make sense of things. However, I am really upset when group members are not responsive or active in doing their parts. When confronted, then they’ll start to tell what’s going on and that they’re having a hard time with their personal lives. 
Again, it’s only ethical to inform your group members. If you’re having a hard time with your life, then please have the courtesy not to make others’ lives difficult too. Private message someone in your group that you trust, and ask that person to say it on your behalf. When you’re in a group, know that they’ll be there for you and try to accommodate to your situation. 

As for those who feel like you’ve been victimized, quickly alert your lecturer. Do not suffer in silent and in the end jeopardizing your own marks. You have the rights to take charge of your own marks and I’m sure lecturer will be reasonable enough to understand the situation cz really, I think lecturers know that freeriders exist in this world. 

Okay, I guess that’s all for now. I think I’m getting a bit emotional. So before my emotions get the better of me, I should stop. Hehe. 

Let’s make everyone’s experience in the university a pleasant, memorable and enriching one. Again, we have to constantly remind ourselves that all these assignments that are given to us is an amanah. When it is an amanah, it means that we will be held accountable for it in Judgment Day. Life is a test isn’t it? So give yourself no excuses, okie? 

WAllahualam. 

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