Friday, 17 May 2013


By Mohammed Doyo

Of the four years you spend in the University, a third of your time is spent doing group assignments. (OK, Don’t ask which research came up with this. I made it up.) Can we move on now? In Moi University, you’ll probably have done more group ‘assignos’ than individual ones thanks to curriculum developers who believe that group assignments facilitate teamwork. Well, to some of us who dare to think differently, this belief largely remains debatable.

However, one point is not debatable. Group assignments do not receive much love from the students.

So which kinds of students emerge in group work?

The Attention Seeker

This student will rack his brains off to keep the ladies in the group impressed. This guy believes he is a cousin to Google. He knows everything under the sun. More often than not, he will try to pull an ‘Albert Einstein’ in making explanations. Moreover, he will volunteer to be the group leader and try to crack some ‘anhydrous’ jokes make nobody laugh. However, ladies often loathe such characters who try hard to impress. And sadly, men never learn.

The One Man Army

These students are often quiet but focused. In most instances where conflicting ideas emerge, these students have their ideas stamped in the final paper perhaps because of their knowledgeable stature and confidence in convincing the rest of the group members. In cases where a section of the members are lazy and too uncooperative, they take the initiative to do the assignments on their own. However, where the captain of this Titanic ship steers toward the iceberg, sinking is inevitable.

The Backbenchers

These are the free riders. Funny enough, they attend all sessions but make no meaningful contribution. They follow the wave more than Kalembe Ndile in Ukambani politics. They agree with every single suggestion or points put across by members without involving the brain. To them every response is an ‘Ummh yes’, I agree to that! Good, I was thinking of the same’ and other annoying forms of crap.

The Tsimonjeros (jokers)

The word ‘serious’ does not exist in their dictionary. These guys often make technical appearances in group meetings an hour late and leave almost immediately after making the usual not-so-convincing excuses. Others don’t even bother to attend probably because of the inspiration they draw from their area MPs who only attend parliamentary sessions when motions involving pay hikes and allowances are discussed. They contribute little to the group apart from maybe typing and printing the assignment.

The Ghost Worker

We live in a country where connections can secure you anything. Getting your name on the cover page of the assignment without participation is no exception. The ghost workers, in most instances, are out of school and never attend any lectures, leave alone group meetings. And thanks to their friends, they always manage to cunningly use other students’ efforts to get a portion of the 15 marks. Another harmful breed of ghost workers appears unexpectedly at the eleventh hour to group work submission and pleads to be included.

After reading this ‘lengthy piece’, I am sure you have identified who you are, haven’t you?

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