In the overview, you were encouraged to start by taking a second look at your online syllabus and other materials for this unit. This "second look" you're taking is called surveying, and it is an important way to begin studying each week. You might think of surveying as a chance to figure out what is around you and what is ahead so that you can plan.

You don’t need to spend too long on this “second look,” but at the beginning of a unit, sort through your course and course materials and divide the information into four chunks:

Tasks are what you hope to accomplish or do in the unit - the activities you need participate in to be successful. This includes message board discussions, chat discussions, and papers or other projects. These could be short-term tasks (such as “answer three discussion questions”) or long-term tasks (“pick a topic for the mid-term paper”). In some courses, you might also have some optional tasks or a choice between one or more tasks. Tasks include anything you are working on that others will read or see you do. Discussions, papers, projects, or reports are all tasks. Readings and research, on the other hand, are resources.
Resources are anything that provides information you need to accomplish your tasks. This may include assigned readings, optional readings, audio or video materials, or research that you do on your own. This is an important distinction to keep in mind: in the majority of your courses, the readings are an opportunity to get more information in order to do a better job with your tasks. They aren’t a task themselves, they’re a resource for accomplishing the tasks.
Tips are any pointers on accomplishing your tasks or using your resources. They might include “look at this first” or “when you read this….” Tips also include grading standards for your tasks as well as notes about how the ideas in your readings fit together.
Deadlines are points in time when you have to do a task (like attend an online chat or take an exam) or have a task completed (like Message Board participation or a project. You may also set some of your own deadlines if a project has multiple parts. Keep a record of these to help you set priorities. Remember that every task has a deadline! When you make a study guide, the first page of the study guide should be a list of the tasks (with their deadlines), your resources, and any tips your instructor gives you.

Reflect & Respond

As you read above, the goal of the Survey step is to get a big picture overview of the work you have to do in a week and the resources you have to complete that work with. Once you complete the have gotten this big picture, what do think the next step should be? The sample answers below represent two different extremes different students might take.

Neither is a perfect answer, though. Think about the strengths and weaknesses of each approach and then click the sample answers below.

Start in on reading through all of the resources right away

Start immediately working on the first deadline and fill in information on the resources as you go

Exercise: Unit 2 Survey

Take a look at unit 2 for this course. You can make your own notes or can download the sample Study Guide. You can use this study guide to fill in your tasks, resources, tips, and deadlines for each unit in this course as well as your other courses.