Guest Author - Elizabeth Stuttard
If you are taking a distance learning course, you will have to complete assignments for the course. It may be two major assignments or it may be weekly assignments or some type of combination. It will be a minimum of two. What can you do to make those tasks more interesting, relevant, and help you to meet your personal goals for the course?
One thing you can do is to decide what you would most like to learn about from the choices given. If there is a subject that you feel would really help you to learn what you most wanted to in the course, then that would be the subject to work on for the project. If your first choice of topic is not given as an option, perhaps you could speak to the instructor and get permission to work on it. If that is not possible, then you will have to choose the closest topic area. Maybe your topic could be included in it.
The next factor to consider is the style of the assignment. Are you required to do an essay? Is it possible to do a video or a PowerPoint presentation instead? What experience have you had with writing, making videos, or slide presentations? Perhaps you do your best work in video format. If so, then check with the instructor to see if a video format is acceptable or any other format that you are interested in using. You may choose to work in the format with which you are most comfortable if the topic is completely new to you, so it is worthwhile checking.
On the other hand you may have a goal of learning to work in a medium that you are not familiar with. If you have had to do written assignments in all of your courses, maybe you would like to practice doing a PowerPoint presentation to increase your skills in that area. This would be especially helpful if you are not having difficulty understanding the material that you need to present in the assignment. You would have more time to devote to learning the presentation skills. Once again, you should check with the instructor to see if it would be acceptable to use a format other than an essay if an essay is what is requested in the assignment.
Putting a little creative thought into how you complete projects that are assigned in a course can help you to come up with a method that will allow you to accomplish the learning goals you have for the assignment. A discussion with the instructor may help you to generate the ideal way to complete the assignment so that it meets his/her goals for it as well. Your idea could make it more interesting for both of you.