Petition to Eliminate the Option for Group Projects sign now

To: Upper Iowa University, its Administration, Its Center for Distance Education Administration, its Extended University Administration, its Division of Business, and its staff members

PETITION TO ELIMINATE THE OPTION FOR GROUP PROECTS

We, the undersigned, petition Upper Iowa University, its Administration, its Center for Distance Education Administration, its Extended University Administration, its Division of Business, and its staff members to eliminate the option for all Online Degree Program university professors to require group projects for students of the Extended University and Online Degree Programs.

We, as Upper Iowa Universitys Online Degree Program students, are gravely concerned about the hardships group project requirements place on us the students, and the less-than-desirable effect they have on UIU in its quest to become the school of choice for adult learners worldwide. We realize that group projects are no longer an educational, coursework requirement within Upper Iowa University policy. However, many UIU professors continue to require group project coursework, and some state in their syllabi that group projects are, in fact, a UIU requirement.

According to UIU website, the target profile for the UIU Center for Distance Education is adult students who are trying to juggle the demands of their career and family while working on their degree. It is our firm belief that UIU administration, in its wise concern for their student base, removed group project requirements from UIU policy because it was clear that the burden placed on target students was an unreasonable one: one that led to a high degree of dissatisfaction for UIU online students and served as a detriment to the UIU online program.

Adult students who carry the demands of their careers and family while striving for an excellent education through a full-time college degree program, particularly through a much needed accelerated program such as UIUs, need to maximize his or her allocated study time to master course material. As it is, unfortunately, group work is a distraction from the students learning process and causes him or her to suffer a multitude of undue hardships because they are forced to depend on the efforts of others to determine the quality of his or her education. This decreased quality of education comes at steep costs of thousands of dollars to the students.

These are the abuses the students have suffered with group project requirements in UIU Online Degree Program. We have endured unfair grade reductions, intolerable physical hardships, intense and continuous high levels of stress that may lead to elevated health risks, reckless conflict with fellow students and more importantly, with professors. To support the efforts to eliminate the option for Online Degree Program university professors to require group projects for students of the Extended University and Online Degree Programs we lay out the following conditions under which students have endured in this program and the effects that these abuses have caused.

1. Conditions: Overload of coursework and dependency on low or non-performing students. Many professors provide little or no structure for the projects, often do not regulate or manage the groups, and most importantly do not hold members accountable to meet college level academic standards of competency in grammar or composition. Members are not being held accountable to honor group agreements, provide sufficient contributions, or take equal responsibility.

Effects: Inefficient use of student time, efforts, and money:

2. Conditions: The accelerated online courses operate under time restrictions that allow students only to reach the initial phases of heightened frustration in the "Development of a Team" model. The model is designed for teams to be developed over a much longer period of time and students at UIU online rarely, if ever, reach the mid-level or later phases which bring a group to healthy resolve and cooperation.

Effects: Students often experience conflict with fellow students. Sometimes these conflicts accelerate to unacceptable levels of viciousness and malice. Furthermore, instructors often refuse to get involved, insisting that student resolve these issues on their own. Students rarely experience group work success. This limitation guarantees a high failure rate that leads to dissatisfaction, high-levels of stress, and unreasonable hardships.

3. Conditions: Group project participants reside all over the world and are therefore in different time-zones, operating on vastly different schedules for work, homework, and group work.

Effects: Students experience high levels of anxiety regarding project deadlines because their work is dependent on students who operate on differing schedules.

4. Conditions: Professors hold deadlines as priority for group work, while holding standards for academic quality to a lower priority. Furthermore, each professor determines his or her own policy regarding time-zone deadlines, what defines APA requirements, etc.

Effects: Students sacrifice quality of education and progress to meet strict, inflexible deadlines. Rarely do professors provide feedback on content of projects, but rather emphasis constantly changing time-zone deadlines, APA guidelines which causes confusion and reduces student productivity.

5. Conditions: Many professors are indicating in their syllabi that group project requirements are UIU policy, which is not true.

Effects: Ethical Conflict. This sets a negative example for university students who are being held to high academic and ethical standards.


As a result of these hardships students experience high levels of stress that lead to the following unacceptable results:

1. Physical Hardships such as the following: Loss of sleep that resulted in loss of work and/or illness, Physical illness as a result of stress

2. Personal Hardships such as the following: Unreasonable interference with work and family life that goes beyond the normal classroom experience and workload, Unjust attacks from other students

3. Academic Hardships such as the following: Instructor retaliation for making an issue of these injustices (some students suspect but its difficult to prove), High levels of stress that have caused disruption of normal daily functions, High levels of stress which have led to poor academic performance

We take to heart the efforts of the inspiring, knowledgeable and world-class teachers who are educating us, and realize that most strive to provide the best possible education for UIU online students. However, the required coursework for each class, without the unreasonable requirement for group work, is superior for optimal learning. Furthermore, without the group project requirements, students will be better able to read the required texts, complete individual papers and assignments, and strive to produce greater quality in their efforts resulting in optimal learning, academic growth, and increased potential to master the coursework.

We kindly ask Alan Walker, President of Extended University, Barb Schultz, Associate Director of Center for Distance Education, James Skertich, MBA Coordinator and faculty member, and all other pertinent Upper Iowa University administration and staff to eliminate the option for Online Degree Program university professors to require group projects for students of the Extended University and Online Degree Programs, for the sake of higher quality education for fellow students. The petitioners firmly believe that without the group projects, the highest level of educational excellence will become a reality for students attending Upper Iowa Universitys External University and Center for Distance Education Online Degree Program.

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Latest Signatures

  • 06 January 2016300. Carol Sk
    Group projects are an attempt at creating a team environment, used more in businesses today than ever. The group projects generally do not mimic what you would experience in the working world.
  • 02 January 2016299. Chris R
    I support this petition
  • 15 December 2015298. Denice S
    I have been involved in many group projects in other universities. I end up doing all the work and the rest of the group gets the grade. Group projects are not a fair way to evaluate a students understanding of concepts.
  • 03 December 2015297. Heather M
    I support this petition
  • 15 November 2015296. Julnar I
    I support this petition
  • 13 November 2015295. Latasha P
    I support this petition
  • 12 October 2015294. Ryan C
    I support this petition
  • 09 October 2015293. April S
    Wish this would have been done long ago.
  • 15 September 2015292. Stephanie M
    I support this petition
  • 02 September 2015291. Terry W
    I support this petition
  • 28 August 2015290. Ed Jefferson
    I support this petition
  • 13 August 2015289. Elizabeth C
    Hope this helps.
  • 08 August 2015288. Michael R
    I support this petition
  • 02 August 2015287. Megan L
    I support this petition
  • 22 July 2015286. Rhonda R
    I support this petition
  • 14 July 2015285. Cassandra L
    I support this petition
  • 11 July 2015284. Pamela S
    I whole heartly agree with the petition and have personally experienced loss of sleep when working on group projects and loss of family time. As a member of the military adequate sleep is a necessity and so is spending quality time with my family.
  • 11 July 2015283. Timothy Am
    I support this petition
  • 06 July 2015282. Christopher N
    This is a good idea.
  • 05 July 2015281. John W
    I support this petition
  • 02 July 2015280. Charity W
    Good Luck!
  • 25 June 2015279. Grace C
    I support this petition
  • 01 June 2015278. Frank L
    I support this petition
  • 01 June 2015277. Robert B
    The online and 8 week classes are set-up for the student who already works and usually full time, these group projects can cause problems with our work.
  • 01 June 2015276. Lori D
    I support this petition
  • 24 May 2015275. Jennifer K
    I support this petition
  • 06 May 2015274. Mary G
    I am in my second term at UIU and I am very unhappy with the group projects. I pride myself on my hard work and academic successes, and my grades with all of my group projects so far have been less than I would expect from myself. Group projects simply do

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Information

Caitlin HunterBy:
Culture and SocietyIn:
Petition target:
Upper Iowa University: Extended University Administration

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