[M.M.X.I.V. 143 / M.A.P.L.E. III-23] Team

The G-Word* is looking to infiltrate my afternoon today and/or the weekend with the exams coming in.  However, I will not make an opportunity to battle it over the weekend proper (i.e. Saturday and Sunday).  The former is out because of my rule about no academic work on Shabbat, and the latter is out due to Bike The Drive, League, and bridge.

Even though Monday is a holiday (Memorial Day), I might have to do some significant work on it and/or my research.  I am fine with this, because if I want to get my PhD in the near future, I will have to work harder, particularly on weekdays when I have the will to work.

So I have not yet mentioned the word “team” in this post.  Here it comes–sometimes I wonder whether it is more effective to engage against the G-Word as a team or as a set of individuals.

There are some group projects that work well in parallel (each person does a separate, independent part of the problem), which evidently is the case in some of the engineering classes at Northwestern.  However, this parallelizing is not always effective.

A good example: on the “lab” projects in EA4 (the differential equations class for engineers at Northwestern), I noticed many students on the teams saying “You do Task 1, I’ll do Task 2, (Person 3) will do Task 3, etc.)  However, these labs oftentimes had the tasks depending on the previous tasks, which causes parallelization of tasks to break down.  It is an interesting case study of misapplication of team-working techniques, or the cliche of “see everything as a nail, and you being a hammer.”

For MY thing of teamwork, sometimes when I do the G-Word on exams, I will sometimes team up with the other TAs and/or instructors in one room at one time, and go assembly-line style in a G-Word party.  Other times, if schedules are divergent, I will work on my own, pass it onto the next person, who does their part.

It makes me wonder if a team doing the G-Word is more efficient in series or parallel, assuming that each cog does only a certain problem(s)?  For me, I feel like I work more efficiently when I am in the G-Word Party atmosphere.  Is it socialization that improves my efficiency?


Today is the one-hundred and forty-third day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes twenty weeks and three days.

היום שמונה ושלושים יום, שהם חמישה שבועות ושלושה ימים לעומר

Today is the twenty-third day of the third round of M.A.P.L.E.  That makes three weeks and two days.

  • The G-Word is GRADING.



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