When I signed up for this class, I knew it was research based and involved a bunch of projects. I chose to take this class because I thought it would be more interesting to try a different kind of lesson plan, rather than the classic reading and lecture template. I tend to think of myself as a good independent worker, and my research abilities to be decent, so when I signed up for Age of Exploration I was fairly sure that I had a solid handle on the class and knew where my work would be focused. Little did I know, however, that when one is left to his or her own devices to produce a quality piece of work, be it a presentation or a research paper, the due date always seems much farther away than it really is. What I mean when I say this is that time is easily wasted when only one required due-date is on the horizon.
Usually, I manage my time fairly well with important deadlines (essays, lab reports, etc.) but with projects, I’ve learned that I need to set solid due-dates for myself. Although this isn’t always an easy thing to do, I’ve found for myself that it’s essential to evading procrastination. Furthermore, I’ve learned that time budgeting is even more important. Work periods in class sometimes seem like they can be freely used as an open period that you’re not required to do anything during them, but if you set your own requirements for these hours, then the myriad of “assignments” you probably have waiting for you at home might become just a little bit smaller.
“You may delay but time will not”
The projects we do in Age of Exploration would be pretty hard to do entirely at school (at least for me) but if you really budget your time well and keep focused during class work periods, you might be able to get the brunt work of it done at school, without having much homework. Another thing I learned is that the readings are not there at the end of every week to be a pain in the neck, but actually do help with your current project if you look at them from the right perspective. I often like to think of them as current research project resources, and often take notes on them directly with my research notes.
Although I haven’t had much time to explore all of the research techniques I hope to use this year, I can tell that even just two months into this class, it will be a kind of Age of Exploration for my research techniques.