Analyzing Online Assignments

24 Create an assignment plan

Now that you have a clear idea of what you need to do, the next step is to break down the assignment into manageable “chunks”.  The idea of completing a major research paper may seem overwhelming, but if you can divide the task into achievable steps you will be on your way to success.

Use the chart below to break your assignment into smaller steps.  You will want to create steps that can be done easily in one day, and preferably in a single work period.  Consider the following example breakdown for a research paper.

Assignment Task Target Completion Date Complete?
Read assignment instructions and rubric October 2 Y
Review course materials and choose topic October 3 Y
Library research — find 3 peer reviewed articles and two books October 5
Read and take notes on two articles October 7
Read and takes notes on final article and books October 8
Organize notes; write thesis and outline October 9
Write body paragraph 1 October 10
Write body paragraph 2 October 10
Write body paragraph 3 October 11
Write body paragraph 4 October 11
Write conclusion October 12
Write introduction October 12
Self-edit content and organization (use the rubric) October 14
Writing tutor appointment October 15
Edit and proofread assignment October 16
Submit final assignment October 18

In the above example, the assignment is divided into smaller pieces, with a manageable amount to complete each day. It is also clear when each task has been completed.  A daily work goal like “work on research paper” is not well-defined, and can seem overwhelming.  This can make it easy to procrastinate.  By choosing specific and achievable goals, you may become more motivated to get started, and you will be able to measure your progress each day.  Remember to reward yourself for meeting your goals along the way.


Try it!

Choose one of your upcoming assignments, and create a work plan modelled on the example above.

Download the assignment planner worksheet.

Assignment Planner Choose one of your Upcoming assignments, and create a work plan that includes a clear target completion date. Target Completion Date Completed? Assignment Task
Image Credit: Graeme Robinson-Clogg


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