Let’s get down to organization

Rewon Shimray | Cartoonist Photo credit: Rewon Shimray

Not knowing your grades and forgetting when your tests are can be the most frustrating moments of the year. As the school year begins, now is the time to think about organizational changes that need to be made. Professors expect respect and organization from their students—as they should—but it would help if professors were mindful about returning the favor.

Canvas is a helpful tool for professors and students alike all throughout the year. Professors who lament the loss of Blackboard or still resort to paper copies of everything could open up a whole new world of possibilities simply by not remaining stuck in the past. When professors don’t post grades to Canvas, students stress about not having access to their grades all semester long. If grades are posted, students immediately get a notification, which helps us to know if we need to come into office hours or how much harder we need to work to meet our goals. Professors are also able to comment on essays or other assignments, which is an effective and easy way for students to access feedback. It’s also a good place to keep files—not only helping organizational skills, but helping the environment as well by going paperless.

For these reasons, students get frustrated when professors don’t take full advantage of Canvas. Believe it or not, there are many students who anxiously refresh Canvas in the weeks leading up to school, hoping to see a class published. Some students love the opportunity to read through syllabi before the year begins. It gives us a chance to start filling in planners and stay ahead of the game for test weeks. It’s also advantageous for students to see who is in their classes ahead of time. Most of us enjoy knowing if we will have acquaintances in classes or if we need to prepare to talk to new people (a helpful heads-up for introverts).

Students have a chance to start the year off more organized, too. This is the year to truly make use of a planner. Using a planner helps students visually conceptualize conflicts early on and allows them to show responsibility by working out solutions far in advance. Test weeks are less likely to creep up on you if you have them written down months in advance. You’re also less likely to forget about little assignments if you write them down and look at what each day holds before it arrives. Writing things down also helps you be more intentional with your time, allowing you to better balance academics with work and a social life.

It could make a world of difference to students’ grades if they are constantly able to have access to them, and if they use that accessibility to plan how to meet their goals. What changes do you need to make this year to stay more organized? Whether it’s making use of Canvas for your students or taking the time to physically write down all of your assignments, figuring out what needs to be fixed early on is key.