Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘time management

 

sweet-dreams-by-brillianthues-2013

Sweet dreams by Brillianthues (2013) is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Happy New Year!

The theme of this blog post is short and sweet: getting the most out of reading and learning in bite-sized chunks.

Short stories

We’ve been building our collection of books from around the world in Hillcroft LRC because we want to give a taste of reading to suit everyone and to resonate with all kinds of readers. There’s a new literary prize set up to illuminate the works of black and minority ethnic (BAME) authors. It’s really exciting to hear about more diversity in publishing. There are so many more stories that we can hear.

Have a look at the short stories on The Asian Writer website for quick hits of new perspectives and universal feelings.

Apps

On a list of the best apps to keep you on track with new year’s resolutions are two notables. One is Pocket Cast to organise and find podcasts, a great way to learn on the go and when your eyes are tired. The second app that I am keen to try out is Lrn, which promises to teach the basics of code with fun quizzes and short lessons.

First News

In the LRC we’ve subscribed to a new newspaper called FirstNews. This is the news in short, with lots of engaging pictures and graphs. If you don’t have time to read a whole article take a moment and grab First News. You can learn something on a single page.

Chrome Web Store

The Chrome Web Store has lots of add-ons (extensions) to customise internet use. All of the browsers will have similar online stores. There are lots of free ways to make research more fun such as adding a kitten picture to every new tab. There’s a goal setting, note taking, procrastination busting homepage from Limitless. More health benefits also include extensions to remind you to take a break or drink water. Check out the web store and reinvent your internet experience.

snapping-turte

Common snapping turtle by Steve Loya is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

There are moments in the day to take up a book. If you already enjoy reading for pleasure these moments come naturally – during ad breaks on TV, on the train or between classes. For others, spare time is eaten up by other things. Sometimes snatching 5 minutes here and there is not enough to really get the most out of reading. It takes time to get into a book whether you are an avid or a more deliberate reader. Although just 20 minutes a day is supposed to be helpful to relaxation and more. One way we try to make it easier to enter the world of a book is through shorter reads. Snappy stories that get you hooked in fast.

In the LRC we have Quick Reads and Graded Readers. These short reads are designed to fit into busy schedules or for people who don’t have time or feel like reading much. The Graded Readers also have CDs to make it even easier to keep reading and leap over that first 5 minute hurdle to become immersed in a book. There’ll be six new Quick Reads in the new year to widen the selection even further.

It’s easy to underestimate the power of a good read. Finding out something new, seeing a new perspective, escaping the daily grind.  Books are meaningful.

Psychology for Dummies on DawsoneraThis week we’ve added two ebooks in the Dummies series to our collection. They are:

Sociology for Dummies by Nasar Meer and Jay Gabler

Psychology for Dummies by Adam Cash

Our students requested these two. The Dummies series are a fantastic way of getting to understand a subject which is completely new to you. The books are great as they all come with lots of call-out boxes and diagrams to break up the text and give you tips and reminders.

We’ve got a number of ebooks and books from the series.  Other handy ones in the study skills area are:

Time Management for Dummies by Clare Evans

Writing Essays for Dummies by Mary Page and Carrie Winstanley

Speed Reading for Dummies by Richard Sutz and Peter Weverka

Gold Mine by Kuznetsov is licensed under CC by 2.0

Gold Mine by Kuznetsov is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

First of all, what do we mean by information overload? It is that feeling of falling down a dark hole when there is too much information to carry out a task. So even simple tasks can be made difficult when we are faced with too many options and no specific direction.

For example, you may need to find out about main theorists for a subject for your UCAS application. As Confucius is credited with saying ‘You can not open a book without learning something.’ There are entire libraries online and offline devoted to human knowledge. Where do you start?

If you have access to lots of information this gives you the chance to be selective and find a direction. The trouble is how can you be selective without being biased or limited? How can you read it all? We all need help with overcoming our biases, speed reading and managing time. The key is not learning willy-nilly (although this can be great too sometimes!) but to focus on what you need to learn for the task at hand. Finding the most appropriate, relevant nuggets of information is the ultimate challenge of academic study (and who knows, probably in life too!).

There is no one way to cope with information overload. We would like to hear about your advice to other students on that awful feeling of being overwhelmed with too many sources, too many theories, too many words. What do you do? What if you are dyslexic? What if you are starved for time?

If you post a tip to us by email, on Twitter or in the LRC and you may receive a World Science Day calendar thanks to UNESCO.

Pocket study guidesNext week our Access to Higher Education Humanities and Social Science and Access to Health and Human Sciences and Preaccess students finish their courses. Our Access to Higher Education students will be waiting to start university in the autumn term. If you are like them then Palgrave Study Skills website is useful in reducing those pre-university jitters before you begin a new course of study.

The Palgrave Student Life area gives you advice on everything you need to know about study at university before it starts! Your First Weeks at University gives you a thorough grounding of what to expect when you begin student life – everything from halls of residence, to freshers’ week and socialising. Getting in the Study Mindset advises you on how to get yourself in the zone for studying. The Look After Your Wellbeing page gives you hints on eating, sleeping, dealing with stress and getting exercise. Its Common Challenges and Getting Help helps you overcome homesickness and nerves and boost your confidence.

Their Essential Study Skills page gives you advice on drawing up a learning strategy, organising your time, reading and getting the most out of independent study whether you are going on to study at university or going to study at local college.

If you’ve got some money in your pocket then you would do well to equip yourself with the Study Skills Handbook by Stella Cottrell which has more advice again. Why not invest £8.99 in the Palgrave Student Planner 2015-16 to get yourself ready for your studendom?

It is hard to remember all your tasks let alone to stay focused on them.  This is especially true if the task is long and has many daunting steps (*ahem*…essay-writing and revision).

There are great apps for your phone, tablet or computer that help you with your to-do lists and productivity. The app called Epic Win sounds innovative with every task you complete giving you the opportunity to enhance your online persona or get to the next level. Turning life admin into a game is one method to stay motivated.

For essay writing and revision, one technique that has been around a fair few years is the Pomodoro technique. Coming from the Italian word for tomato which was the shape of the timer the inventor of the technique used. It is especially good for complex tasks such as completing academic work.

According to the technique the key is to work productively in short stints of 25 minutes. During this timed period you must work and only work. But when the alarm goes off to mark the completion of a productive time period then you get a short (5 minute) break. You could get a cuppa, check Facebook or just otherwise daydream -whatever little reward floats your boat. Then you go back to your productive time. After 3-4 cycles of productivity and short rests you get a longer break (15-30 mins).

The Pomodoro technique may sound a bit too regimented for some, plus what happens if you have just got into something and the alarm for a break goes off? You have to work how it suits you, but perhaps this time-management technique can be part of an armory of other ways to keep your nose to the grindstone.

You can use a timer or find a Pomodoro inspired app online. Some apps like Keep Focused and Pomodairo let you input and save what you intend to work on in the productive session. So you have a record of what you have been doing and can see what you have achieved at a glance.

It’s much healthier than the gummy bear motivational technique.

Cite Them RightAt the beginning of this autumn term we are running two trials on Palgrave Macmillan study skills software to help our students study better. The first one is Cite Them Right Online – an online version of the Richard Pears and Graham Shields book which guides students and researchers on how to reference different materials using various referencing systems. Here we use Harvard and the book is great for describing how to reference everything from an ebook, to tutor/lecture notes to graffiti. The online version includes tips to help students work out how to reference, practice their skills and get tips on how to avoid plagiarism.

The second trial is for Skills4studycampus which helps students get back into studying, assess their skills and pick up areas where they need to put in effort. There are a number of modules covering everything from note taking to critical thinking, working in groups and time management. We’ve placed both on our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) so students and staff can access it easily. It’s based on the best selling Stella Cottrell book The Study Skills Handbook

This week the Learning Resources team have been inducting Preaccess students on referencing and we’ve been promoting the handy app on Harvard referencing created by the University of Lincoln. It’s available as a pdf document and its free to download on Googleplay for android/tablets and the Appstore for iOS devices.


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