When you first sign in to an online course, you will see a number of items on your left-hand menu for that unit, all filled with content. Some weeks, it may feel overwhelming. However, every class — and almost every unit in that class — can be broken down into three parts:
Get the Big Picture: Looking at Your Class Syllabus
One of the first things you want to do in any course is to get the Big Picture. The Big Picture consists of knowing:
- What your Goals are for the course
- What Tasks you need to complete in order to succeed
- What Resources you will have to help you with the tasks
You can find most of this information in three sections of your class syllabus:
- Find Kaplan University’s official Goals for this course in the Outcomes section of the syllabus. Take some time to think about how the course goals relate to your own professional and personal goals.
- The syllabus will also describe the major Tasks you want to accomplish in the lists of graded projects, which may include writing assignments, discussions, seminars, quizzes, exams, or other major projects. Tasks include:
- Projects to complete
- Problems to solve
- Questions to answer
- The syllabus should also have a section on the Course Materials, which will list the most important of your Resources. (Note, however, that many units will also have additional resources for your work that may not be specifically listed here.)
Once you have a good idea of what’s involved in the overall course, you can get an idea of what’s coming and begin to look at each of the individual units.
Goals, Tasks, and Resources are easy to remember: just think of “Go To Reno!” (or “Go To Richmond!” or even “Go To Rome!”) or some other three-word phrase that begins with G, T, and R. Feel free to come up with one of your own!
Working Week by Week: Breaking Down Your Units
Of course, you don’t accomplish the course goals and complete the course tasks all at once. You do so by working through the learning process each week in a cluster of material called a Unit.
Each Unit has its own Goals, Tasks, and Resources that help you work toward the overall Goals and complete the major Tasks for the course.
- Goals for each unit can be found in the Unit Introduction, which usually includes a purpose statement and the Unit Objectives. The goals tell you what is most important to learn from the unit and how the unit relates to work in your own life. You should also think about what goals you have for the unit: What is important for you to learn? What is most interesting to you?
- Tasks may include specific Feedback Tasks and Evaluation Tasks (which we will discuss later) that are due by the end of the Unit as well as major projects (such as a Final Project or Midterm Essay) that you need to work on throughout the course.
- Resources are specific readings from your textbook or other course materials, as well as websites, library articles, research assignments, or multimedia materials. Resources exist to help you compete your Tasks and meet your Goals, so that keep that in mind when you are reading!
Take a Look!
Want to see an example of breaking the unit into Goals, Tasks, and Resources?