In H817, the latest (and last) module I study for my Masters in Online and Distance Education, the blog is again suggested as a means of reflective writing. Having somehow dragged myself through my Masters studies by my fingernails, and knowing that 'time management' is a major issue for most of my own students, I thought I would reflect on ways of ensuring I set aside time for study.
As I remarked once, to do 'time management', you actually have to have some time to manage. For many of us doing part time studies, we are squeezing our study time in between often long hours of work, parenting, caring for elderly relatives, supporting our friends and relatives ... We have to be highly disciplined about ensuring we do manage to look at the study materials.
Another case in point is my student Emily, who has been furloughed for the moment. Initially she thought with lots of time at her disposal, getting ahead in her studies would be simple. However she found to her surprise that she lost motivation. We talked her situation over and thought perhaps it would help her too to be quite disciplined about study time.
A bonus of not having much time to study, is that you are always keen to get back to it. Sometimes I've had to leave an exercise half finished, and I have found that this means I am more likely to get back to it the next time I have a moment, than if I neatly finish off each page and leave it before starting a new one.
For H817, my intention is to put half an hour or an hour into study every morning, before starting any work.
First week's experience - I put in half an hour on the student forums in the middle of one day, reading others' introductions, responding and writing my own. This took longer than I thought it would, and cut into time I'd meant to spend with my daughter, which I would rather not do. I want to try not to fit in study around times which are meant for her, as I know this will just make me feel the strain of being torn between two things.
I also tend to take longer than half an hour/an hour because I do get into my studies and want to finish off each page. I'm going to try out keeping to a time limit, rather than a limit of pages I read in the material, so that I don't have that anxious feeling that I neglected something else in selfishly pursuing this highly appropriate professional development activity!
One thing I do which helps, is glance over the week ahead. I orientate myself, getting a sense of what pages are going to be more timeconsuming, and which I can work through quickly.
Another tip comes from my colleague and friend Melanie Rimmer's YouTube video on the Swiss Cheese method of study. If I don't finish the work in a week, I will move on to the next week regardless, rather than fall behind because I'm trying to read everything.