The Weekly Grind: Up to this point, we’ve looked at basic time management concepts and tools. What we haven’t looked at yet are the unique problems of students in an accelerated e-learning environment. Most programs have three core components: reading and video assignments, discussion posts ,and discussion responses. Don’t start your week by laboriously reading through all your assignments and watching the videos and flash media. To work efficiently you should begin with the end in mind. Before you open a book or load a video, look at the week’s objectives and read the discussion topic carefully. Then go to the reading and find the summary at the end. Read that summary and take notes on it. Now you can do your reading and watch your videos with a focus on getting the information you need. What might have taken six hours becomes a more manageable two-hour task this way. When it’s time for your discussion post, remember that, in spite of the word discussion, this is scholarly writing. You’ll need citations from the resources you read and watched. You’ll have to use APA and include a reference list. The first few times keep your APA Style Guide at hand. Keep your post simple: Start with an introduction, follow with supporting details and citations., then end with a conclusion that wraps up your main points. If you struggle with writing, using the university writing center for editing help or asking a colleague who writes well to edit.If you get stuck, cheat a little. Running late and stuck for ideas? Read some of your classmates posts to start your own ideas flowing.. This works for me in a pinch. (Of course, I don’t need to tell you, don’t steal their words and ideas. That does not work at all and could lead to big trouble.)
In addition to routine work, you’ll have a project to do. One thing that makes the big assignments a little scary for e-learners is the lack of informal social contact with your classmates. You may feel isolated and totally on your own. My suggestion: Find a friend or two in the group and make a few mutually beneficial connections. You cannot underestimate the moral support that comes from venting and the collaborative energy you get from bouncing ideas around with a real person. If you are working on a big project or just getting ready for a big test, take the time to organize a regular study group. Find a conference site where you can meet online to make communication easier. (Chatting and e-mails become cumbersome. You don’t have to spend any money on this…Just sign up for a free trial if you don’t have already have access to conferencing tools. Building those connections helps but you also need to put your time management tools into high gear. Think back to the idea of eating an elephant. Break your project down into manageable pieces and plan time for each piece. Decide where to start – You may take the Wellcast approach of starting with the task you like most. But sometimes it is best to tackle the most difficult piece first. When you get it out of the way, you can ride the momentum to keep going with other tasks. Start easy or start hard but do get started. Once you’ve chunked your work and started, you’ll need to set and keep your own mini-deadlines. And every time you meet one of those mini-deadlines, reward yourself. One last topic: What do you do when, in spite of all the planning and strategy, you mess up? Here are some ideas.Communicate: Let the teacher know if you cannot make a deadline. Try to get an extension. If you have a real emergency, most teachers will work with you.Be realistic: Sometimes you may have to hand in work that is less than your best. One or two lower grades is better than becoming chronically late.Bite the bullet: That said it is also better to hand something in late than to miss it completely. Late work will probably be graded down but any grade is better than a 0.
1. Open wide
and eat an
2. Procrastinating isn’t the only thing that
holds us back in managing our time.
Have you found that you waste more
time than you realized?
Listen to some great ideas
on how to avoid…
3. Check Point
Try this quick quiz
and see how you do.
4. Just go to the course home page on
CourseSites. Click on Tests.
Then select Quick Quiz 1.
When you finish, return to PowerPoint 2
from the Content menu.
5. Done already? Nice job.
You’re ready to focus on e-learners and
their unique time-management issues.
6. It isn’t easy going to college online…
The Weekly Grind
How to attack routine, repeat assignments
1. Reading and viewing media
Before you start, check out…
7. It isn’t easy going to college online…
Approaching the big tasks
1. You’re not alone:
A. Find a friend
B. Join a study group
C. Find a simple way to communicate
2. Flexibility means making detailed plans
A. Decide where to start
B. Chunk your work
C. Set your own interim deadlines
3. You’re only human: Be prepared to
make mistakes and deal with them.
8. Do you know how to handle the
unique time management problems
of adult e-learners?
It’s time to find out.
Just go to the Tests menu and take
this 10-question quiz. You should finish
in 5 minutes or less.
9. Not Enough Time in the Day
for Adult Learners
Put Your Time Management Tools
Day of Week
Use what you’ve learned to plan
for another day
10. Before you start,
check out this page
from E-How on how to
make a schedule.
Just click and go…
11. Let’s review the E-How approach….
1. Pick a format.
2. Compile your appointments and tasks
specifying the time needed for each.
3. Prioritize appointments and tasks and schedule
the most important first.
4. Plan to use time efficiently. Avoid wasting time.
5. Don’t over-commit your time.
6. Schedule to fit your personality and strengths.
7. Plan enough personal time and rest.
12. Print out the attached agenda – or use
your own agenda, if you prefer – and
complete your schedule.
Not Enough Time in the Day
for Adult Learners
Day of Week
13. Great job…
Let’s take a short break
to see how Dilbert manages his time…
14. Some food for thought…
When trying to organize your time there are
two issues: finding the time in the first place
and then using it properly. If you don't do the
second, there is little point in doing the first.
15. In Summary…
Organize: Use the time you have efficiently
and minimize wasted time
Just do it: Start with one small task
Use your agenda: Include everything
Build in a little extra time in case a task or
appointment takes longer than expected
Take planned breaks but…
16. In Summary…
Minimize distractions and interruptions:
Stay on task when you are “on the clock”
Break up big tasks into small chunks
Reward yourself for small accomplishments
Prioritize: Decide what’s important and
Focus on what’s important, especially
when conflicts arise
17. Save the URL… sites to remember.
Revisit videos on Youtube:
1. A Simple Approach to Time Management:
3. Wasting time:
Food for Thought: Problems Unique to Adult E-Learners:
Need more practice? Try this activity on Youtube:
18. One last thing…
Please take a few minutes
to complete the
Go to the course home page
and select Surveys. You’ll find the
two-part survey there.
19. If you ever need a little help
in Instructional Design or Advanced Instructional Design,
don’t hesitate to e-mail me.
As you know, I’ve learned a lot the hard way.