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Planning for Success: A Review of Laurier’s New Assignment Planner

By: Samantha Schott, Writing Tutor on the Waterloo Campus

Do you struggle managing your assignments? Do you feel rushed when completing a research assignment? Well, Laurier has the answer. Recently, Laurier has created an online assignment planner to help students plan, manage, and complete an assignment in a timely fashion. The 11-step planner is a comprehensive guide on how to approach, research, and write a research assignment. The planner breaks down the process of research and writing into manageable steps to better focus students on attaining their academic goals. Not only does the assignment planner help students visualize and plan an assignment, it also encourages students to improve their researching, writing, and critical thinking skills through the open source resource. The planner is easy to use and has in-depth descriptions of every step of the research and writing process, accompanied by examples and external links to guide you to your future success.  

One of the greatest assets of the planner is the ability to calculate a project schedule. Whether you are a student who plans well in advance or only has a few days before an assignment is due, the assignment planner can calculate an organized schedule tailored around your assignment start and end dates. Simply add in the date when you will begin the assignment and when it is due, and the planner will organize a schedule that tells you what steps need to be done on what days to ensure the assignment’s completion. Breaking down an assignment into several manageable steps that are completed over a series of a few days (or weeks) can help reduce the overwhelming feeling that often comes with large projects, can make the project seem more feasible, and can ensure a more well-rounded final assignment. Additionally, this schedule can then be sent to your e-mail with attached links, so you don’t need to return to the assignment planner through Laurier’s website. Better yet, you can set up e-mail reminders wherein you will receive an e-mail each day reminding you what steps need to be completed that day in order to stay on track.

While scheduling and staying on track may be students’ largest issue in completing an assignment the assignment planner also has tons of great handouts to guide you through the writing and researching process. While each page is strong, of notable mention are the integrating sources (step 8) proofreading strategies (step 10), and my personal favourite the thesis pages (step 5 and 9) which gives students a comprehensive guide on how to write (and rewrite!) a thesis. This is of particular note, because as a student thesis statements can often be one of the most challenging parts of a paper to write. The assignment planner provides good examples and tips throughout on how to your thesis substantive, contestable, and explicit.

If the assignment planner’s descriptions are not enough, the planner also provides links on every page for further information. Some of the links are to handouts from the Laurier Writing Centre but are also from other accredited universities such as University of Toronto, Queen’s University, and Princeton University to name a few. Also, the planner does have an index of handouts and links, so you don’t have to sort back through the entire assignment planner to find that one handout you are looking for. Furthermore, there is an alphabetical glossary of terms that are useful if you are lost as to what terms like “authorial voice” or “genre” are when you are working with the planner.

With the wide availability of resources and links combined with the flexibility of the site, the assignment planner is an excellent tool for students to use for their upcoming assignments. Even if you do not have a research paper this term, I highly recommend you checking out the site!