In a Statistics related class, Whenever I do a group project, my group members don't know how to do anything as much as I do, and if it's a big group such a 5 person group, one person may help me write. The other person doesn't have any original ideas and will do some small tasks I tell them to do, and the rest don't know how to program.

I end up doing most of the work because I don't want to receive a bad grade, and I put everything in the project report. The professor doesn't really care about a fair division of labor, and on the day before presentations everyone ends up reading my project report, and especially the two people who did nothing just memorize what I said, then since the professor says everyone has to speak during the presentation, they end up stealing my lines, and I end up divide my work and sharing credit for it and throw it to charity.

How do I mitigate my group members plagiarizing off me and taking advantage of me? This doesn't happen when I work with people who actually understand what they're doing in class, and it's not a big deal when a project isn't worth 40 percent of the grade.

The only benefit is that I know how to code everything, and they don't but the professor doesn't check who coded what or care. They don't seem to care or they don't know how to code and can't help themselves help me.

The problem is in an introductory freshman graduate course, I don't know who's capable of doing good work, and I can only seek the "smart" people as I gain knowledge of who's capable and not capable.

The professor is clueless and expects that everyone is capable of either coding well or having original Innovative ideas. But that isn't true. Some people neither are original nor code well. He expects us to play nice with each other.

Since I end up doing all the work, by presentation day, I'm also too exhausted to present well, and I can't shake things up, and I thought about quitting the group and doing things on my own, but should I do that? The people in my group are close and might conspire against me.

Option one: send the professor an e-mail privately telling him I did everything but per his instructions we have to split up the presentation and everyone pretends they did a fair amount.

  • 2
    What is a "freshman graduate course"?
    – Buffy
    Apr 22, 2020 at 14:23
  • First semester graduate course?
    – user119256
    Apr 22, 2020 at 14:27
  • Have you brought up this issue with your group members?
    – Izzy
    Apr 22, 2020 at 15:36
  • See this related question: academia.stackexchange.com/q/147860/75368
    – Buffy
    Apr 22, 2020 at 18:31

3 Answers 3


May I suggest an alternate point of view? Is it possible that you are grabbing the reins of the project and trying to control it too tightly?

I bring this up because you mention a couple of times that you are the only one who knows how to program. From my own experience I know that when experienced programmers are compelled to work with inexperienced programmers there is a strong temptation to seize control of the project in order to make sure it is done well. You have to keep in mind though that this is an educational exercise. The goal is not the completion of the project per se, but that the students learn the material by participating in the project. You may be assuring a higher quality result by taking control of the project, but you may be interfering with your fellow students learning the material. It may be time for them to learn how to program.

This may be doubly difficult because it sounds like you are more motivated than your fellow students. I expect that you knew exactly what needed to be done and wanted to come to grips with it, while your fellow students may have been "Yeah sure, whatever". Consider this an opportunity to learn how to engage and motivate your co-workers. You are going to be working on "group projects" most of the rest of your career, so this is an important skill to cultivate.

Of course on top of this is your natural concern about the project grade. I don't know how to ensure that your desire for a top grade doesn't conflict with the needs of your fellow students to get hands on experience or vice versa. I can only suggest that in the worst cases where one of your fellows is simply sitting back with folded arms, you may need to discuss the situation with the professor.


If you got to choose your own group and it's late into the term then you might be out of luck because the professor will likely say that you should have addressed this problem earlier.

If you were put into a group or chose to be with unfamiliar students early on you should talk to the professor and bring logs showing that you are pulling more than your share of the workload. You can ask to be graded on an individual basis because of the lack of contribution by your peers. Some professors are terrible at their job and may tell you that they grade the group as a whole as a life lesson or some crap because really they do not want to be troubled with separate grading schemes. In that case you may want to escalate this problem further, but I wouldn't. As someone in your exact shoes in undergrad that didn't know anyone going in, I can tell you that your group members are entirely content with getting crappy passing grades and there's nothing you can do about that. You should just work through it and make sure to rest well and have stricter time management. Choosing to present on your own will reflect poorly on you because you will appear to not be able to work in a group. The professor and your peers may look at you in a bad light.

I did the entire projects myself until I was fortunate enough to meet other hard-working students in later years. That not only prepared me extremely well for my exams, but helped with multi-tasking and time management skills. As a bonus your clueless peers will miss out on those benefits.

  • I did choose my group members and I tried to avoid people who were obviously not going to do well including those people who never went to class, but there's a limit to how much I can dodge trouble.
    – user119256
    Apr 22, 2020 at 14:22

I'm late to the question, but for anyone else in this situation, there is always the option of anonymously emailing or writing to the professor expressing your concerns with the division of labor issues. Doing so anonymously means you won't get a reply, but you also won't risk being viewed as making excuses or complaining. (Although one would hope a professor would not think negatively of a student for bringing up such a valid concern.)

Incentivizing an unskilled majority to exploit a skilled minority is not teaching a good lesson to anyone, socially speaking.

  • 1
    Incentivizing an unskilled majority to exploit a skilled minority: it's not a statistics class, but maybe it's a business class? May 23 at 1:47

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