Warning: array_keys() expects parameter 1 to be array, object given in /homepages/30/d600723151/htdocs/wp-content/themes/wpcook/inc/colors.php on line 7

Warning: max(): When only one parameter is given, it must be an array in /homepages/30/d600723151/htdocs/wp-content/themes/wpcook/inc/colors.php on line 7

Conversations: Time Management and Remembering Information

classroom management, student behavior, time management

Robert Talbert writes about his experiences with “flipping” a college calculus class in a recent Chronicle post. He explains that one of the biggest challenges his students face isn’t with the material of the class, but in crafting a time and information management system that allows them to be successful, particularly when there are so many little projects involved in their class work.

 Broken Clock

Talbert explains that he would create an online system of reminders for each part of the project (since all of the deadlines are given in advance), but his students handle it differently (and less effectively):

“But for students? Most of them simply try to remember what they need to do, and this is a terrible idea. The brain is an excellent tool for processing information but a terrible one for storing information. Students misremember what they need to do and when, or just forget it. As a result, the #1 negative comment about the class so far from students is having to ‘remember several different websites’ for their work–which in fact is not the case, as there’s one website that puts all the resources and assignments within three clicks of each other. But in their minds, it’s not one project but half a dozen disconnected tasks.”

I don’t teach a flipped classroom, but I do require a lot of online assignments, mainly in the form of small reading responses through Blackboard.

I do this because it helps ensure students read but also because I’m a tough grader. Few students get A’s on formal papers without extensive revision, and I know that my grading style can be a little intimidating for some developmental writing students. I balance this out with a lot of lower stakes assignments that aren’t graded as strictly.

But sometimes these lower stakes assignments backfire. My intent is that they give students the opportunity to build confidence in their writing skills outside of the high-pressure situation of a formal essay. When students do the work, it goes well. But many students forget or ignore these smaller online assignments.

When I ask them why they aren’t doing the work, many of them tell me that they can’t remember when they’re due. This is frustrating for me. I give them a paper syllabus with all of the dates posted.I post them all on Blackboard. I remind them in class.

I’ve often gotten flabbergasted when a student (more than one) has said to me “You mean I need to look at the syllabus every day?!”

I’ve been thinking about signing up for something like Remind101, a free service that lets teachers text students securely to remind them of upcoming due dates.

Part of me is excited about the possibility of getting more work from more students, but part of me feels like this is enabling a larger problem. We have to learn information and time management systems that work for us. I currently juggle my workload as a faculty member, my responsibilities as a graduate student, and the day-to-day tasks of running a household and family. There is no way I would simply remember all those due dates, meetings, and tasks. I use an electronic calendar that sends me reminders from my phone. Before I had a smart phone, I carried around a physical notebook covered in sticky notes. I did not trust this knowledge to someone else or to my own memory.

How can we help students see deadlines and assignments as part of a larger whole instead of disconnected tasks? How we can we help them realize that memory is not the most reliable way to get work done? Do you (or would you) use a service like Remind101 or do you think that teaches students to ignore a key skill? As teachers of developmental students, what expectations should we have surrounding time and information management skills, and how do we effectively scaffold them?

Photo: james

But for students? Most of them simply try to remember what they need to do, and this is a terrible idea. The brain is an excellent tool for processing information but a terrible one for storing information. Students misremember what they need to do and when, or just forget it. As a result, the #1 negative comment about the class so far from student is having to “remember several different websites” for their work – which in fact is not the case, as there’s one website that puts all the resources and assignments within three clicks of each other. But in their minds, it’s not one project but half a dozen disconnected tasks. – See more at: http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/castingoutnines/2013/10/07/the-biggest-lesson-from-the-flipped-classroom-may-not-be-about-math/#sthash.E4jhd3Ya.dpuf
But for students? Most of them simply try to remember what they need to do, and this is a terrible idea. The brain is an excellent tool for processing information but a terrible one for storing information. Students misremember what they need to do and when, or just forget it. As a result, the #1 negative comment about the class so far from student is having to “remember several different websites” for their work – which in fact is not the case, as there’s one website that puts all the resources and assignments within three clicks of each other. But in their minds, it’s not one project but half a dozen disconnected tasks. – See more at: http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/castingoutnines/2013/10/07/the-biggest-lesson-from-the-flipped-classroom-may-not-be-about-math/#sthash.E4jhd3Ya.dpuf
But for students? Most of them simply try to remember what they need to do, and this is a terrible idea. The brain is an excellent tool for processing information but a terrible one for storing information. Students misremember what they need to do and when, or just forget it. As a result, the #1 negative comment about the class so far from student is having to “remember several different websites” for their work – which in fact is not the case, as there’s one website that puts all the resources and assignments within three clicks of each other. But in their minds, it’s not one project but half a dozen disconnected tasks. – See more at: http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/castingoutnines/2013/10/07/the-biggest-lesson-from-the-flipped-classroom-may-not-be-about-math/#sthash.E4jhd3Ya.dpuf
« »

4 thoughts on “Conversations: Time Management and Remembering Information

  1. One thing you might do is literally illustrate/explain how the little assignments are meant to help. I'm unsure how to instill habits in adults (not my area of expertise), but I could see if you tallied up some calculations to SHOW how they matter, it might help motivate. I'm picturing you literally showing the tallying of someone's semester grade where they get B's on papers but complete all their assignments, so they have an A at the end. Or C's and get a B or whatever. That may stick with people?

  2. I think instead of using something like that Remind101 which makes me responsible for their reminders, I'd look around for a service that lets students schedule their own reminders to be sent by text or email, and put that on the syllabus as a recommended resource and include that in my conversations about what strong students do. If someone came to me midsemester complaining about how hard it was to keep track of everything, I would ask first if they set up their reminders, and then when they said no, I'd have them sit down at my computer and walk them through it.

  3. That's a great idea. I do think that it's sometimes hard for students to wrap their mind around the way all of the points work together. (Which, in turn, means it's hard for them to wrap their minds around the way the assignments in the class work together.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Made with by Alex Gurghis and Radu Trifan. Powered by WordPress