Coursework Strategies: Getting Through the Weekly Assignments

If you love it, go ahead and spend your whole week doing this coursework, but if you have other things to do maybe you want to get through it fast. Take two minutes to read the techniques below, and you'll complete your weekly assignments in no time.

First, Paste All Tasks and Questions into a Word Document

See that light at the end of the tunnel? If not, it's probably because you didn't paste all tasks into a word document before starting to work. People who begin their coursework without first pasting all material into a word document have no idea how long it will take to complete their work. Begin your weekly coursework by looking at your list of tasks and questions in the word document you're using, and you'll be able to see the progress you are making while you work.

Do Not Look at the Readings Until After You Read the Questions!

Are you required to answer questions about a chapter of the text, or some other readings, videos, etc? I'm always surprised when I see someone read the chapter before they read the questions. Always, they end up going back and reading again to find the answer when they begin to work through the questions.

Why not just skip the part where you read the chapter and search for the answers? Read all questions to find the key words and phrases they involve, and then start skimming through the chapter to find the answer. In fact, you can even use the index of the text book to find a significant word from the question, and very often the index will take you right to the page where you can find the answer.

Use Other People's Ideas When You Are Required to Cite Outside Readings

Sometimes you are required to do some research to find information that is not included in the class readings. Typically, in a case like that the student will think of something to write and then search for an article that can be cited to support his idea. It is much better if you simply find an article related to the topic and type some sentences about what it says. Let the idea in the article help to determine your idea. That way, the first article you find will be perfect for supporting the idea you express.

Using an idea from an article as your own idea is not cheating, not being lazy, and not plagiarism. It is research. Research writing is the process writing about other people's ideas. You might not even agree with the idea you find in an article, but you can still write a few sentences about it in order to get through this coursework! So, you can express the results of your research and opinions you form, but begin by reading an idea expressed by someone else in an article.

Use “Second-Hand” Citations When You Are Required to Cite Outside Readings

When gathering other people's ideas, you can go a step further and save even more time. Rather than reading a whole article and writing about it's main idea, find a section where it reviews a lot of other articles and re-use one of the citations. “Second-hand” clothing is clothing someone else already wore, and a “second-hand” citation is one that someone else already used. It's okay for you to cite an article that someone else already cited. Just make sure you paraphrase and use different words.

The best thing about using second-hand citations is that you can scroll down to the references at the end of the article and “steal” the Bibliography / Reference / Works Cited list entry! Paste it into your document as part of your own reference list. If you do this for every citation... in every paper... for every class... you'll save many hours of time!

Accommodate the Human Who Teaches This Course

We don't often think of it this way, but your course really is the basis of a relationship. You are in a relationship with the professional academic who teaches this course, and it can be a good relationship or a bad one. Are you respectful enough to show interest in the concepts that are most important to the professor?

Identify what is unique about the professor – her research interests, her accomplishments, her personality type – and express appreciation for her by following her suggestions and recommendations. Anyone who ignores recommendations by an expert is a spoiled brat who will never amount to anything! Instead of seeing the class as something that is all about you, see it for what it really is all about: The professor.