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Completing Projects

Completing Projects

Author: Alison DeRudder

Identify best practices for completing projects.

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Tutorial Audio

what's covered
This tutorial prepares you to perform your best on projects by providing some strategies for success working on projects individually or in groups. Here is what’s covered:
  1. Timely Work vs. The Last Minute
  2. Best Practices for Projects
  3. Group Projects

1. Timely Work vs. the Last Minute

Just like in preparing for your exam, check the grading breakdown to find out the value of your project to your overall grade in the course. Your instructor might assign a final project instead of a final exam, or one major project could be the centerpiece or culmination of your work in a course. In other words, projects can be a significant chunk of your performance and assessment in a class.

Therefore, as with exams, it’s best to have a plan for working on your project and to do as much as you can in advance or throughout the course to make progress on your project. Just like “cramming” is not a productive and efficient way to prepare for a test, a hastily produced project is not likely to be a successful one.

2. Best Practices for Projects

In addition to having a plan and a schedule for working on your project, it’s also a good idea to make sure that your project is meeting the requirements. Double check your syllabus and any information your instructor has provided about your project. Be sure that your project incorporates key concepts and themes from your course.

Because projects typically require you to plan and work over an extended period of time, another useful strategy is to seek critical feedback to ensure you are on the right track. Particularly when you are working on your own, consulting with someone else—ideally someone with knowledge of the subject matter—is a good idea. Someone else might notice an aspect of the project you are missing or misunderstanding, and with a long-term project you have time to make the proper adjustments and move in the right direction toward success.

3. Group Projects

Recall the best practices and strategies for group projects discussed in the tutorial called "Group Projects." Your course work will often call for collaboration with your fellow classmates, and one common form collaborative work will take is the group project.

A benefit of group projects in higher education is that they help prepare students for their working lives after graduation, as most jobs and careers require effective collaboration with coworkers.

In addition to the best practices for working on individual projects, such as getting started early and making sure your project aligns with the course’s themes and expectations, another key to success in group projects is active and open communication. When working in a group, a lack of communication can derail the progress of a project or muddle its focus.

Use your planning skills to work on your project over a period of time and you will be successful. Be timely with your work rather than waiting until the last minute. Some best practices for projects, such as getting feedback from others on your project, will help to improve the outcome. You may also be required to collaborate with others on group projects.