Name: Julie Rosenthal
Area/Discipline: School of Outdoor Recreation, Parks & Tourism
I am a Teaching-Focused Assistant Professor who seeks to spark passion in my students for the subjects I teach. If they leave a course wishing to learn more, I feel I have done my job!
Think of this technique as a set of Lego. I and the learners have only so much time (i.e. only so many pieces of Lego). I need to build something that is ‘complete’ -- a complete learning and teaching experience in my case. I use this technique to help students manage their time and to ensure that the workload I give them can be accomplished within a reasonable amount of time each week.
Prior to the course start, I create a Google Calendar (GCal) that shows all the course elements (scheduled lecture periods, weekly readings, discussion posts on D2L, and time to work on assignments). I cross-reference the blocks of time on the calendar with the weekly readings and activities assigned on D2L as well as with assignment deadlines in the syllabus so that all learner activity and assessment is accounted for in the GCal blocks. I also test the timing required for a novice to complete each element to assure each block has an accurate amount of time.
Once my creation is complete, I give the GCal to all learners at the start of the course -- in the same place as the course syllabus. This critical step means that each learner can import all course workload expectations to their own GCal.
Using the GCal as an early course activity, learners can now rearrange the GCal time blocks to fit their lives and other academic responsibilities. Once the GCal is imported, a learner can move each element/block in their calendar to a space where they have time and can still meet deadlines (e.g. Learner A will move the 2nd reading and exercise to the second Friday afternoon, whereas Learner B moves it to the second Thursday morning since that is the day they have a lighter course load. Both will meet the exercise's submission deadline of Saturday morning).
How I Use It
Using my LU GCal tool, I build a calendar for an upcoming term's course. This helps me with planning the flow of my course and gauging how much I can ask students to do each week. Once this is done, I refine its details so that connections between blocks are clear and the blocks use common language across the syllabus, D2L content, and the GCal:
- I confirm that the time I have given to each element is fair and realistic.
- If my course is 12 weeks in length, my assumption is that a learner should expect to invest 7-8 hours per week on my course (1/5 of a full-time work week). For my course, I build out a day’s worth of content for each week, including time to work towards assignments due later in the semester.
- I color code blocks to categorize assignment types (e.g. in-class time, D2L content, working on assignments, etc.).
- I export the completed calendar and add it to my D2L course overview for students to import as a layer in their own calendars.
Feedback from Learners
Students have said that this tool helps them know what is ‘on the radar’ down the road to prepare for assignments in a timely manner. They find it helps them avoid feelings of being ‘overloaded’ because they have an accessible view of the actual load for the course.
Students appreciate being informed about assignments and their required time investment well in advance.
"[it] makes challenging workloads manageable by providing outlines on how to progress through the content."
"I find it a very helpful tool."
A Short Task to Challenge You
To help you participate in 12 Techniques of the Holidays 2020, we have created a GCal for you and blocked out all the items that will allow you to participate fully at times that work best for you.
- Here is your 12TechLU GCal file to import to your Google cal. Download it first, and then log in to your G Cal space.
- Import the file to add this series to your schedule.
- Move the blocks to time periods that work best for your holiday schedule. ;-)
One Final Task
Is this something you can use in your classroom? How might you utilize it? If you want to share your results on social media, please let us know by using the hashtag #12techLUDay1.