Optimizing Your Time with Course Readings
This short video by Thomas Frank contains some great nuggets on how to speed up your overall reading, and get the most out of reading for learning. In particular:
- Pre-Read for Title, Abstract, Headings, Key Terms – this will give you a good sense of the key points, and what you should be looking out for when you read deeper.
- Attack the Reading with a Purpose – consider why YOU need to read the piece, and what YOU want to get out of it. Connect it to your own context, and look for the points that relate to that.
- Skimming – Skim through the reading to find those sections that are most important to you. Many “academic” resources contain A LOT of information that you don’t necessarily need RIGHT NOW!
- Read those key sections a little more deeply, and make some notes about how they relate to you and your needs. Skip the sections that provide extra details you don’t need right now (you can always re-read them later, if you are really interested, or the need arises).
Optimizing Your Time with Course Discussions
First strategy... you don't need to read each and every post!
- Post your own responses for the weekly questions.
- Read and respond to a handful of posts from some of your classmates (look for ones that haven't had a lot of responses yet).
- While it is valuable to hear everyone's voice on the topics and questions we are exploring... it can also drive you mad trying to read them all (especially in a class with many active students!).
Second strategy... set up a "Daily Forum Digest."
- You can configure your Daily Digest preferences in most Learning Management Systems. (For instance, in Moodle, click on the dropdown arrow next to your name in the top right corner of the screen. Then select Preferences > Forum Preferences.)
- If your LMS allows it, (Moodle, for instance, does) tell the LMS to mark all new messages as "Read" once your Daily Digest is sent out to you by email (which will avoid the shock of seeing so many unread messages when you login to the LMS, and the time-consuming task of navigating to, and viewing them all to get them all marked as "read").
- I find that the Daily Digest option is useful for time management, because you know what time it will arrive in your inbox. Everything is grouped together by forum in one place, and you can quickly peruse from your inbox to see if there is anything important. If not, and you have your preferences configured to mark them as read when the Digest is sent, then you don't have to worry about those messages when you login to the LMS. If so, there will be a link in your Daily Digest to go directly to that message (so you can find it, even if they have now all been marked as "read").
Third Strategy... set aside a specific time when you will review messages.
- Allocate yourself enough time to post your required original posts and responses, and a bit of time for perusing other posts, course announcements, etc.
- Stick to that amount of time, even if it means you can't get to reading all of the insightful posts made by your classmates!
Fourth Strategy... if your instructor has a dedicated Questions and Help forum, use it!
- If you have coursework related questions, or general questions about the course site, administrative issues, etc, post them in that dedicated space. Your instructor will likely check there first when they are logging in to the course site.
- Avoid burying questions for which you expect / need an instructor response in regular module discussion forums. Your instructor may be following some of the strategies outlined above, may not have time to read each and every post in the regular forums, and may miss your query amidst that sea of new posts!
I hope this advice helps!
Slade, Tim (2017, January 17). 100+ Free Hero Images for eLearning. [Web log post]. Available from https://timslade.com/blog/hero-images-for-elearning/