TIME MANAGEMENT IN 8 WEEK COURSE
This course is not very difficult in terms of its content. You will be surprised how much you already know about its main topic, and how much learning will be simply about rearrangement of the information, and how you approach it. The only challenge is time management (especially for very intense 8 week course), and this is why it is very important you pay close attention to it.
Your workload in this course is carefully calculated. For a 3-credit course, you are expected to spend on average 12 hours of high-quality time on your learning per every week (more or less depending on level of distraction, interruptions, previous knowledge, interests, etc.). On average, for conventional 15-week course this time spreads approximately as:
Original Post and comments (1 h)
Reading Textbook (2-3 h)
Video Review (2 h)
Science News Digest (1 h)
Practical Activity, or Lab, or Video-2 (2-3 h)
Composition of Test Questions on Reading (2 h)
Weekly work on Research Project (1 h)
For an 8-week course, multiply these estimates by two, i.e. this class becomes your half time job with average load around 24 hours per week if everything goes smoothly. It is obvious, it will require full attention to your time management.
It is safe to say that any 8-week course could be a very productive format for the person who are extremely motivated, and fully focused on the subject. Usually this kind of concentration comes based on the decision to make breakthrough in a particular field of knowledge (using class as a starting point and a springboard for further self-education); or based on clear understanding of necessity to complete particular task (to get credits for finishing education, etc.). In any case, person dedicated to succeed in 8-week course should be ready to be fully submerged into the theme of the course in terms of content, related news and current events, independent assessment of surrounding phenomena, people activities, and etc.
If starting this course you feel that challenge is overwhelming, please do not drop the ball, and consider 15-week option instead, or traditional on-ground class. Environmental field is so critical for everybody dedicated to be productive in years to come, that you almost for sure can grow both personally and professionally if you persist with your learning in this direction.
To optimize your homework,
Review your tasks, rank them according to difficulty level and deal with them accordingly;
Review your biological rhythm/clock, identify your best time for learning, and use your best time for the most challenging tasks.
Select, arrange, and control your working environment to be suitable, comfortable, and supportive for learning.
Please keep in mind, that it is a myth that music helps you to concentrate; it may be pleasant and comfortable, but it is not useful for your learning -- statistically efficiency of learning when you are listening music drops 27-33%).
Establish logical, TCE-based pattern for your learning when reading: Terminology – Concepts – Examples. Terminology is critical for processing of information, asking questions, and for your main goal -- understanding of Concepts. Only conceptual learning can be productive in a long run (fact change, and multiply in numbers too fast). Mastering concepts, you will get tools applicable in diverse situations, and even when dealing with new and unfamiliar facts. Examples (ideally, -- our own ones) are very helpful to illustrate concepts, and they assist you in your learning in a highly efficient customized, and individual way.
Establish pattern of work with as full concentration as possible in short time increments (not longer than 50 minutes of work, with following 10 minutes break);
Be sure that you always have adequate rest/recovery: 10 minutes per every hour of work, one hour per every day of work, and at least one day per every week of work.
Consider mixing/combining activities for refreshing your mind and your body (example: listen to the tape with terminology definitions when jogging before test);
Allocate all fragments of so called “grey” time (waiting before appointments, regular walking/driving, etc.) and use it for your learning (note cards are always in your pocket, note records are always on your phone and in your car);
Establish solid week schedule and follow it 100% (it is useful to have a hard copy planner in addition to electronic one).
It is critical to understand that nothing happens in learning until you take full ownership of it. It is a common misconception that somebody can teach you something. Actually, even the very best teacher can only assist you in your own learning, and this is a big difference. So, please take it easy; do your very best investing your efforts in academic work; be fully honest in everything you do, and enjoy learning!
This course is a science course, and by definition, it only can address some specific parts of any person’s otherwise broad life, which always includes other ways of exploration of the world such as Faith and Art. It is important to understand some fundamental differences between these three categories: Faith is based on beliefs; Art – on individual preferences; and Science – on facts, which everybody can measure, and can do so repeatedly. This last thing makes Science much more objective than any other field of human activity, and this is the reason why we can rely on it in a particular (objective, and measurable) way when searching for the truth.
It is not a stretch to say that Environmental Science is a comprehensive field of knowledge, addressing virtually every and all part of human life and activities. In some sense, it would be more correct to call it Environmental Studies because it is broader than science alone. Nevertheless, we will stick with calling it Environmental Science to emphasize a scientific approach, and using the Scientific Method in everything we do in this course.
At the same time, all students are always welcome to refer to other fields of human experience at any time on the condition that we always remember what we are dealing with falls into two categories: objective facts or subjective opinions. This understanding can assist all of us in our collaboration in learning, as well as with any practical things we do in life and work. Let’s approach any environmental issue with an open mind, in a humble and honest way, and ask questions about everything while searching for the truth.
It is important to remember that all work in this course is your individual work only. No any collaboration, nor sharing of any information on individual assignments beyond of the discussion board is permitted. You can use any legal resources in your preparation except of human help. We believe that academic integrity is even more important in the case of online course than in on-campus ones, so any breach of academic integrity (plagiarism, cheating, borrowing or sharing results of your work, and etc.) will result in a “F” grade for this course. All your work is fully original (no copy/paste except of references is expected/permitted in any assignments).