Tutorial: Organising Your Time Around Your Lectures
The aim of this section is to get you to think about time management: scheduling, planning, and reviewing your time around lectures. We encourage you to set aside blocks of time dedicated to revising lecture content and to plan ahead to make sure you can attend your lectures on campus or from a virtually (e.g. Zoom or Teamns). Having a think about how your entire semester will look should help you to plan your week and set realistic goals.
For many students, being at university is an exciting time of change and new opportunities. You might find that learning at university is somewhat different from your experience of previous educational establishments and learning with lectures may be one of those differences. For many, being taught with lectures is something that you first experience at university. Your timetable will probably be sparser than when you were at school or college, and so you will have to undertake a lot more independent studying. The amount of independent study required is also likely to increase as you progress to the later years of your degree.
When devising a timetable, think about where you will be in each time block: an on-campus lecture hall, the library, your bedroom, or your dining room etc. Whilst good study habits involve working where you will not be too disturbed, this will look different for everyone. Indeed, it is important to reflect on what works for you: are you better sticking to a strict timetable, or does flexibility to work around your other commitments suit you better? Certain environments will help or hinder your studying (e.g. alone vs group; silent vs noisy). Remember that even if you are enrolled in a (predominantly) online course, you can still create a study group with your classmates (e.g. Zoom).
Make sure you timetable some time at the end of your week to review how your timetable is working for you so you can make changes for the following week. When you get to the next section and you learn about SMART goals, you will want to timetable some time to review your goals too.
Research has shown that students who actively organise their workloads and update their timetables and organisational styles to suit the demands of their course tend to outperform students who don't engage in this metacognitive learning behaviour (thinking explicitly about one's own learning). For more information on reflecting on your progress, see the Going Forward section.
The following exercises should help you to organise your time in order to engage with your online and/ or on-campus lectures. After completing the exercises, you might want to transfer what you have learned onto a timetable app on your phone for convenience.
Keep in mind that, whilst organising your semester is best done at the start of the semester, the skills that you learn here can be implemented at any point in the semester. It is never too late to get started; wherever you are in the semester, put into practise what you learn on this course.