#LibraryAtoZ – Assignments

Marvellous Monday Morning everyone!  

Today we’re launching our targeted support for students who are completing work over the summer or preparing for a fresh start in the autumn.  We can help you to Succeed@Tees with advice, online tutorials and resources.  You can also look out for the #LibraryAtoZ posts on @TeesUniLib social media.

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So let’s get started on this week’s topic … and where better to begin than A for Assignments.  Each day we’ll give you a selection of hints and hacks to help you, whether you’re getting to grips with your first assignment or polishing off your final project.  

What are assignments?

 Usually each module you take during your course will have at least one. They can take different forms, you may be required to write an essay or report, sometimes it could be a presentation or group paper.  Whatever the format there are some basics you need to consider right from the start.

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Why do I need to do them?

Basically this is the way your academic skills and understanding of your subject are assessed against the learning outcomes for that module. Learning outcomes describe what you are expected to learn and the level you have achieved.

This is your chance to demonstrate your learning and your own research or practical application of that knowledge.  It’s important to remember this every time you start an assignment, if you understand the purpose and expectations you can make sure your assignment delivers the best results.  

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How do I get started?

 It’s tempting to jump straight into an assignment and get it finished, but our first top tip is to stop and take time to plan ahead.  Here are our steps to getting started.

Purpose.  Remind yourself of the purpose of your module – check the learning outcomes so you know what you need to demonstrate.  You should target your assignment to meet these outcomes.  Check out some of the key terms and what they mean in our academic keywords checklist.

Focus.  Follow the assignment criteria – this tells you how you need to demonstrate your learning.  Be sure to follow all of the instructions about word count, format and submission.  It sounds obvious but it’s easy to miss something and you may lose marks as a result.

Time.  Give yourself enough time – research and writing up assignments often take longer than you think. Once you’re clear about what you need to do make a plan of how long it will take and how much time you have available.  Remember to allow some time for unexpected delays and time to take breaks. Try planning in each stage working backwards from the deadline date to your start date. We have lots of help available on time management.

Reflect.  You know what you need to do, you have a plan, now think about how you are going to do it.  If you have had feedback from previous assignments, remind yourself of any improvements you need to make this time around. If this is your first assignment, think about your strengths and weaknesses, what will you find easy and what might need more effort or time?  Be realistic, whether this is your first attempt or you’re in your final year it’s always tempting to leave the difficult bits until last or ignore them altogether.  Remember that you’re demonstrating both your knowledge and your academic skills so spend time on your research and writing to improve your final product.  Check out our online guide to Structuring your Assignment

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Help! The Library is closed but you can find a whole range of skills support on our Learning Hub site or you can book an online tutorial. You can also ask questions or add comments on our blog.

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