UoPeople Blog - Term 2

UoPeople – Preparing for My 2nd Term

Tomorrow is going to be the first day of Term 5 in 2014-5 at University of The People (my second term). To help get a head start and mitigate some stress, I’m going to take some preliminary efforts and start preparing myself today.

Make a repository (err, group of folders).

First up, create a repository. In my case I’m only taking one course this term so I’m only making one, but you may need to repeat the process twice or thrice.

If you remember the system I used in How I Start my Week, you’ll already have an idea of what I mean, but for the rest of you I’ll explain.

To keep my notes organized, and to prepare for my exams, I make a folder on my computer for the course I’m taking, with sub-folders or directories inside for each unit of that course.

Here’s the basic structure:

  • UoPeople
    • Name of Course 1
      • Course Summary
        • Learning-Objectives.odt
        • Quizzes.odt
        • Reading-Assignments.odt
      • Unit 1
        • Assignments
          • Some-Assignment.odt
        • Notes
          • Unit1-Notes.odt
          • Other-Notes.odt
      • Unit 2
      • Unit 3
      • Unit 4
      • Unit 5
      • …etc
    • Name of Course 2
    • Name of Course 3
    • …etc
    • …etc

Hopefully that makes sense. Anything above without a dot-extension, is a folder, and anything with a .odt extension is an Open Office word document. Basically, you want to have sections for each unit, and keep your assignments and notes separated inside each unit. This lets you find information quickly when you are reviewing or studying for your exam.

More about the repository.

The course summary folder is where I keep a master document for course objectives. My use for this is explained in more detail here under study tip # 5.

The course summary is also used to keep a list of quiz questions, so I don’t have to log into Moodle every time I want to review them. Having them all in one document also makes it easier to study.

As for the “Reading Assignments.odt” I don’t really use this extensively during the course, but it comes in handy during review and studying at times. The main purpose is to keep a copy of all the links from my courses, on my local hard drive. After a course is over, you can’t access the Learning Guides any more, so this is a way of me keeping these links as a reference throughout the rest of my life and/or career.

It is possible to find all of the reading material for each course, even if you’re not currently enrolled in that course through the resource repository. However the method doesn’t include any descriptions or summaries that are normally included with the links inside of the Learning Guides. My method ensures that I know what each link is about without having to click on it and check.

It’s also worthy to mention that the repository can change as courses are updated, so you may not be able to find a link you’re looking for, if you don’t make the effort to save or bookmark it yourself.

 

Read the syllabus.

Next, take a peek at the course syllabus. This term I’m taking Programming Fundamentals, so I just look that up in the UoPeople Online Resource Repository.

This repository allows you to view the syllabus of any course even if you’re not currently enrolled in that course (if you’re a UoPeople student). This is how you can retrieve course reading material, if you want to find something from a course you already took, or review a course you plan to take in the future. It’s also how I’m going to make some note templates for this term.

Copy & paste.

The first thing I want is the course Learning Objectives (LO’s). These pretty much sum up what’s going to be on your exam. If you can explain in your own words each objective, than chances are good you will pass your exam. So I simply open up my “Course-Objectives.odt” that I made earlier and copy and paste the LO’s into my doc, and do a little bit of formatting.

Screenshot 1

After pasting the LO’s into my document, I turn them all bold. This is just personal preference. As I go through my course I continue to come up with, and add answers under each objective. Having each one bold faced just makes it easier for me to read.

I like to create spaces between each LO so that it’s easier to add my thoughts under each one later.

Next I’ll add a header for each unit from 1 through 8.

screenshot 2

The syllabus doesn’t include the LO’s for each unit, but as I progress through my course, I’ll copy and paste them from the Learning Guide to here.

Last step – build a template.

If you have read my article on how I start my week, you know that I start each week by making a sort of note taking template. This term, instead of making each one from scratch at the beginning of each week, I’ll just make one generic template. After, I’ll make 8 copies of it – one for each unit.

The template is pretty easy, here’s a screenshot. screenshot 3

 

Right after uploading this screenshot, I realized that I forgot to include a section for Learning Journal assignments. So make sure you put that in there too.

Also, if it’s applicable to your course include a section for Written Assignments as well. In my case I still have to figure out exactly how I’m going to organize my programming assignments.

Included in the syllabus is the tasks and the title of each unit. So after making 8 copies of this template, I just go through and fill out what ever information is available. The rest will get filled in later as I start each unit.

Here’s an example of one looks like afterwards:

screenshot 4

That’s Basically it.

To summarize what I (and hopefully you too!) have done;

  1. Set up a repository.
    1. Make a folder called UoPeople
    2. Add folders inside for each course you take.
    3. Inside of each course add a folder for each unit.
    4. Each unit should have a folder for both notes and assignments.
    5. Make a course summary folder for all of your;
      1. Learning objectives.
      2. Quiz summaries,
      3. and reading assignments.
  2. Open up the syllabus
    1. From the Moodle home page scroll to the bottom.
    2. Then click on UoPeople Online Resource Repository.
    3. Find your course in the side bar on the right. (If in desktop view).
    4. Click on the course, and you’ll be directed to the course syllabus.
  3. Copy the course Learning Objectives.
    1. Set up for future learning objectives.
  4. Build a unit template word document.
    1. For each unit;
      1. Write down the unit number and unit name.
      2. Copy down the tasks for that unit.
      3. Include sections for;
        1. Discussion assignments,
        2. written assignments,
        3. journal entries,
        4. and references.

 

As I progress through this term I’m likely to discover new ways of organizing, especially specifically for CS courses. Anything new I discover that I think will help out other students I’ll be sure to post here.

Now that I’m done preparing for tomorrow, and just about done this post, I think it’s time for a cold one.

Cheers,

Dan

 


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