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Current distance education benefits greatly from educational software that makes group work possible for students who are separated in time and space. However, some students prefer distance education because they can work on their own. This paper explores how students react to expectations on behalf of the course provider to do their assignments in collaborative groups. They are seemingly both positively surprised by the challenges that group work offer, and they are less positive to the downsides of group work. The paper discusses both sides of the experiences and suggests why this might be a paradox to live with.