It’s Thursday morning, which means assignments for unit 7 at UoPeople are up today. In the past 6 weeks I’ve started developing a routine for limiting the amount of time I spend on school each week. The system may not be perfect, and I’m sure with time it will continue to improve, but I’d still like to share my process.
My main goal is to not look like the women in the picture above, who I’m just realizing has the same coffee mug that I’m drinking out of right now… If that doesn’t highlight the effects of globalization… Mmmoving on.
How I start my week.
The very first thing I do, before I even sign on to my Moodle account (Moodle is the learning environment used at UoPeople) is open up my word processor, which is Apache Open Office 4 in my case.
In my case, I happen to be taking 2 courses right now, so right away I click on “save as”. First click >file >save as.
As seen below.
That screenshot is a little difficult to read, but basically what’s important is, I have 2 main directories, one for my course in GLOBALIZATION, and one for ONLINE EDUCATION STRATEGIES.
Once I make that directory, I click on it, and make a name for my document.
In this case I’ll call it by the course code like this: POLS-1503-unit-7-notes.odt
Now, I click; file> new> text document.
Or, press ctr+n.
I just repeat the same process as above, only now I’ll save my document under; ONLINE EDUCATION STRATEGIES> Unit 7 > UNIV-1001-unit-7-notes.odt
Time to sign into Moodle!
This is where I sign into my Moodle account and find out what my assignments are for the week. I also start taking notes right away, by writing down the learning objectives for the unit, assignment questions, and a task list.
So once I have Moodle open in my web browser, I snap the window to my left, by clicking the top of the window and dragging all of the way to the left (on Windows – sorry Mac). Then I do the same to my text document, but to the right.
The window should look like this image below, with UoPeople on the left, and Open Office on the right.
Now I open up one of my courses (in Moodle), I’ll just do UNIV 1001, but the order doesn’t matter.
I scroll down to the current unit, which is 7 right now. I copy and paste the title of the unit into my word document.
Next I go back to the “general page” for the course, scroll back to the unit I’m on and click on the Learning Guide. This is where everything for the unit is layed out. There is a task list of everything that has to be done, your reading assignment, and often a short introduction to the main topic of the unit. This is also where all of the questions for each assignment will be, along with the learning objectives for the unit.
** If you happen to be using Open Office 4 like I am, and are trying to get a split-screen layout, like I showed above, you may want to close the side-bar to make more room for your text. Clicking the little arrows inside of the red circle as shown below will minimize the side-bar giving you more room to type. **
First thing I do after opening the Learning Guide is copy and paste the task list into my notes, and bring the font size up to 12 or so.
As I progress through the unit, I’ll highlight items on this list to indicate that they have been completed. This is also where I will add due dates if they apply. Discussion assignments for example, are recommended to be done by Sunday, so I’ll write that down.
Next, I copy and paste the Learning Objectives into my notes. This is such a crucial step to my method, as it gives me questions to reflect on as I go through my reading material. My goal, aside from just completing assignments, is to answer the Learning Objectives in my own words. This really enforces the concepts in the material, and in the long run it means less review for tests, which equates to less time spent studying.
My notes now look like this.
After that, I click next, and read the introduction for the unit. This helps prime my brain for the questions I should be thinking about while completing the unit.
Click next again, and I’m brought to the reading assignment. For now, I just open up the links to get an idea of how much reading I have, and how dense the material is. Usually I plan to spend 10 hours for reading/note taking, and then the remaining 5 hours is taking my notes and rough drafts, and turning them into the final copies of my assignments.
Click next again, and I’m brought to my first assignment. Not every unit is the same, sometimes there are many assignments, and sometimes just a couple. Today the first assignment in the Learning Journal is the discussion assignment. So I skim the questions to help prime my brain, and then copy and paste them over into my notes.
Click next again, and now I’m presented with a written assignment. I just keep skimming the assignment questions, and then copy and pasting them until all of the assignments are in my notes, and my screen looks like this.
In the case of this unit, there is no more for me to copy and paste into my notes, but sometimes there is what’s called a Learning Journal assignment, which is basically a less formal written assignment.
Now, I just repeat the above steps for my other course. After I have all of this done, I then assess which course I’d like to tackle first. I will usually ask myself if the material in one course will help me in the other, if so, that’s the one I start with.
When I begin reading the material, I’m using note taking strategies that I’m not including in this tutorial, but I’m also keeping the assignment questions in mind. By doing this I often have most of a rough draft finished by the time I get through the readings. This means I don’t have to re-read material as often, saving me a lot of time.
I hope this has helped you in your efforts for time management here at UoPeople, if you have any of your own suggestions on how I can improve this tutorial, please leave a comment below!
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