I recently came across a blog post done by Nick Rac, a student from Bentley University. He gave his personal account on how GroupTable helped his group not only eliminate many of the problems they had, but played a part in helping them win a $1,000 contest at his school.
With his permission I have re-posted it below.
Thanks for the great testimonial Nick
During my junior year of college at Bentley University I was enrolled in a mandatory course entitled GB 301. The course was primarily a project class in which a real world business with a real world problem approached our class and asked for consulting. After being broken into groups of 5 we were given basic information, and a few assignments – from this we were to formulate a 70 page business plan for the client, this was a competition style course with a $1,000 cash prize for the winning team. This course is extremely well-known and feared by Bentley students as it is extremely time intensive is a serious time commitment for ANY student.
After holding my group’s first group meeting it became apparent to me that all 5 of us being able to meet in the same place at the same time would be extremely difficult and I began to search for free group collaboration software. I gave a number of products a good thorough testing and decided on one outstanding product: GroupTable. The next group meeting was introducing the application to my team and explaining how I wanted to implement it into our project – everyone was excited to use GroupTable and we all agreed that it would be essential to our group’s success…little did we know that it would probably save the project.
Over the course of the semester we met on a regular basis of twice per week in person and twice per week via GroupTable. Once the semester got a little busier we were all struggling to make our meetings and began meeting 4 times weekly on GroupTable and only once in person. We were the only group (of 20 total) which had implemented the use of collaboration software, which gave us a true advantage.
Typical college level group projects function in one of two ways: 1. All members of the group meet in a single location and work on each part of the pject one piece at a time. Or 2. All members meet, distribute the work amongst the group, disburse and meet again to review and combine each assignment. A group project using GroupTable functioned very differently. We were able to meet in person, assign out work AND collaborate with one another at any time. GroupTable’s clutch moment for us was when a group member had an unexpected trip home to London. He was able to meet with us, submit his work and share the ideas he had brainstormed during his travel time.
When one of us had a question or idea during the day we would simply post the question/idea to the private GroupBoard discussion board and wait for other’s input. During our online meetings the chat allowed us to talk real-time with one another to discuss issues, ideas and concerns. These two features combined with the “Binder” feature (which allows users to upload documents to share) were essential to the success of the project. At the end of the project we calculated that each group member met for 4 hours on GroupTable for every hour they met in person, impressive considering we averaged 250 hours of work PER PERSON for 14 weeks.
In the end we ended up winning the course competition and the cash prize. Our group was able to finish the project 5 days before the deadline (normally groups are running to Kinkos at midnight the night before to get the plans printed and bound). Our presentation was killer, our plan a huge success and we were able to do an impressive class presentation on how we used the GroupTable software.
In a business school like Bentley the majority of our courses require a large amount of group collaboration, Bentley teaches that in the business world of today you MUST be able to function in the group environment. This can be difficult for many people as it requires commitment, flexibility and pat. GroupTable addresses many issues associated with any type of collaborative work and I continue to use it to this day for large group projects.