Unique class project creates real-world skills for students

Group projects are either dreaded by Chico State students or seen as a safe haven to avoid individual work. But a group project with almost 40 other students opens up a whole new can of worms, especially when it needs to be completed in exactly two weeks.

But for Project Management 444 students, a whole-class group project is exactly what they signed up for.

This year, the sections of this class are creating, writing, producing, directing and performing in their own Broadway productions. With only two weeks to accomplish all of this, the students must work together to account for a huge chunk of their grade.

On Thursday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m., section two of this class will present “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late: The Play” in the Bell Memorial Union room 210. Former students of the class and faculty will watch and judge the competing class productions.

Senior Alex Chaussy, junior Jana Wedenberg and junior Anuhea Kaiaokamalie make up the production team in their section of the class.

Each task and responsibility that goes into creating a Broadway-level production is delegated and divided among the 39 students in the class.

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Alex Chaussy, senior business management major, leads the Project Management 444 course as a part of the production team. Photo courtesy of Alex Chaussy.

“We oversee the whole class and everything they do comes to us before we turn it in,” Chaussy said.

With only two weeks to complete each task, all 39 students must heavily rely on each other.

“If we don’t meet one of our huge milestones, then the whole class will fail,” Kaiaokamalie said.

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Anuhea Kaiaokamalie, junior environmental science major, chose to minor in project management. Photo courtesy of Anuhea Kaiaokamalie.

Not only does the project seem daunting due to the short time frame students have, it requires skill sets students learned in just this semester.

“Essentially we were getting practice throughout the entire semester for this final project,” said Chaussy.

This project offers each student a chance to prove what they learned. In terms of putting on a Broadway production, each student is pushing and testing their abilities.

“For the most part, I don’t think there’s a big portion of the class that has any theater experience,” Kaiaokamalie said. “I think that’s what’s going to make it really interesting. It’s the fact that people are getting out of their comfort zone and really putting themselves out there.”

The end result of this project will be more than just a show— these two weeks will test and challenge the skills that each class member has learned.

“I think the main thing [our professor] is trying to get us to do is learn to work with a team and communicate,” Chaussy said. “It’s not necessarily about the play, its about how we attack the whole project.”

In delegating tasks, allocating resources and managing the entire class, each member of the production team has been able to take away valuable skills and knowledge.

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Jana Wedenberg, international business major, is a part of the production team in the Project Management 444 course. Photo courtesy of Jana Wadenberg.

“I think in every job, you have to work with different people and there’s no way you can be on your own,” Wedenberg said. “I think we really can benefit from what we are doing right now and can learn some stuff to apply later on.”

The project allows students to tap into their own leadership styles and learn about what they need to do in order to be successful.

“I honestly think prioritizing my time has been the biggest thing I’ve learned,” Chaussy said. “It’s been interesting, though. It’s a roller coaster.”

“I think it has a lot to do with social skills,” Wedenberg said. “You have to work with so many different characters and you need to get along with them.”

Holding different majors, each member of the production team will certainly use the skills they have learned from this class in unique ways in the future.

“I think it’s a really good, real-life experience. It’s helped me so much even in real-life situations,” Kaiaokamalie said. “Planning things like going out, I find myself allocating resources and making sure the time’s right.”

Sabrina Grislis can be reached at [email protected] or @sabrinagrislis on Twitter.