Teaching Tip: Build a meaningful task list

This tip is based on feedback from 338 students across four Los Angeles college campuses.

Canvas automatically populates a “To Do List” on the platform, but this automatically-generated list simply orders tasks by due date. In addition to Canvas’ automatic list, build a content page that breaks down a recommended work schedule for your students (including general advice). Linking tasks to the actual location in the course and highlighting the estimated time required helps your students stay organized and on track. Consider the following format:

“All of the following tasks are officially due at 11:59 pm on Monday, August 31st, but you may want to follow this recommended work schedule in order to stay on track:

Monday August 24th

☐ Print or write out this week’s study guide, fill it in as you complete the lessons and readings
☐ Listen to “Ethnographic Research Methods” Lesson (20 minutes)
☐ Start thinking about which religious institution you’d like to study for your major research paper

Tuesday August 25th

☐ Listen to “Rituals” Lesson (20 minutes)

Wednesday, August 26th

☐ Read and respond to Delmos Jones’ “Toward a Native Anthropology” (40 minutes)

Thursday, August 27th
☐ Listen to “Conducting Interviews” Lesson (10 minutes)

Friday, August 28th
☐ Ensure that this week’s study guide is entirely filled in
☐ Get your questions answered by reading page, “Research Project FAQ’s,” text me if you have any further questions on your major paper (10 minutes)

Saturday the 29th and Sunday the 30th
☐ Turn in and review your study guide throughout the weekend (10–30 minutes)
☐ For extra credit review this week’s content with “Ethnographic Research Methods Game” on Kahoot (15 minutes)

Monday, August 31st
☐ For extra credit, watch and respond to “Strangers Abroad: Bronislaw Malinowski”(1.5 hours)

☐ Take Quiz: Ethnographic Research Methods (40 minutes)

☐ Catch up all of this module’s work
☐ Reach out to the religious institution that you plan to study, schedule a time to visit before 11/22 (5 minutes)
☐ Check the Q&A Board to see if you can help your classmates (10 minutes)”

87% of students surveyed said that this type of task list was helpful, and 70% of my students said that this type of task list was more helpful than Canvas’ automatically generated To Do List. One of my students explained, “Technology in this class has helped me greatly. I’ve struggled with time management for a while but the task list and SoundCloud lectures truly make it so much easier to stay organized and incorporate the class into my daily life.”

Cultural Anthropologist in Los Angeles

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