School Assignment: To do it or not to do it? - page 2

QUESTION TO ALL STUDENTS: Your teacher offers you an assignment that is not required for the class and is not graded or counted towards your class grade in anyway. It is offered to help you with your understanding of the... Read More

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    We have an optional assignment that is given to one class in nursing I but not the other. I'm in the class that was given the optional assignment.

    I'm doing it because I feel like the more practice I get the better. The more exposure I get to different scenarios, the more prepared I will be. The assignment is an ongoing case study, and sometimes I wish there was a grade associated with it just because I am spending time on it, but I know that I am benefitting in the long run because it's helping me understand the material better. I feel lucky that I'm in the class that got the optional assignment.

    To me, nursing classes aren't like other classes that you could cram last minute and pull out a good grade. What we're learning now actually needs to be retained over the long term, so I feel that if I'm going to be given tools to be better prepared, I'm going to utilize them!
    VegetasGRL03RN likes this.

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    Sorry it took so long to get back on here. Final semester excitement...

    This is not actually happening to me as of now, but more of a hypothetical question....

    Personally, it depends on what the assignment is. If it's just more reading, then I doubt I'll do it because just reading the material doesn't help me learn it; it just teaches me how to flip pages. If it's a case study, short answer, or another kind of active exercise, I am more likely to do it because I know that works best for me with materials I don't understand or want to test my compentency. I can take this approach because I know what works for me and what doesn't; I'm an analytical & logical person and this is one scenario where those qualities don't work against me. For example, I've found that Daytonite's Critical Flowsheet located in the signature area makes it all connect and click for me, but reading the textbook like a fiction novel doesn't. I also use the "study backwards" method described in Imprint last year if I do decide to check out a chapter. And although I've got three months of NS left, I've started listening to nursing review CDs since February while driving in the car or around the house.

    I had this discussion with a co-worker/nursing student and she didn't think that you could learn a topic another way than what the teacher presented. I told her people don't all learn the same way just like all teachers don't teach the same. I said I wouldn't do the assignment (ex in convo: case study) if I knew the material and it doesn't count against me or fail me. I mentioned I prefer to be efficient in my studies (AKA work smarter, not harder). She then said, "So you're not open to new things?"

    The logical fallacy in her conclusion kind of surprised me. I suppose I just prefer to take the approach that allows me to work in a more efficient manner rather than trying to do everything or anything to help and see what sticks. Time is a precious thing that I want to spend wisely.

    Thanks for all your input on this topic!
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    I would do the assignment...this happened to us too and I was the only one who took the time to do the assignment and turn it in...I was given extra credit points for my effort and a lot of the material included in the assignment showed up on a test...even if you think you know the topic, and the assignment would seem "useless" to do, you never want to pass up an opportuntity to learn more even if it is not graded...your instructor might just be testing you all to see how serious you all are about becoming a nurse...
    VegetasGRL03RN likes this.
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    I'd also do it as you never know when they may throw out a bonus point or two Not to mention it's always good to have an extra review over materials. Information is power!
    VegetasGRL03RN and sharpeimom like this.
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    It's pretty interesting to see all this different replies, especially considering they are based on the different grading scales and criteria that our respective schools use. For example, at my school for lecture, there are no extra credit points. Just the several computerized exams, the final, your attendance, and the HESI/Evolve case studies. For clinical, all of our paperwork is mandatory, so there isn't an option if you want to pass. I mention that since the idea of extra points is foreign to my school's mantra. The only way that is happening is if a test question gets thrown out.

    I do agree with Daytonite about the teachers being our clinical and academic references, however, I would prefer to demonstrate my competency through the already required paperwork, post-conference at clinical, the exams, and extracurriculars involving NSNA chapter activities. This belief may also be based on how our school is set up.

    If my school was set up how you all are describing, I don't think the theoretical question would have came to my mind at all. That's why I love you all! So many varying experiences and perspectives all in one place!!
    Last edit by VegetasGRL03RN on Feb 9, '10 : Reason: Addition
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    Our professors give us plenty of extra material that is not graded to work on. I usually work though the extra study guides and assignments as I study and make notes on anything I find interesting or that I have a question on but I don't always fill out every question and type everything up as if I were going to turn it in.

    To me, any extra material that would help me understand a concept is always greatly appreciated and if my professors took their time to create it, then I should use it to my advantage.
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    There are benefits to doing this assignment (hypothetical or not) that go beyond whether or not it will impact your grade, or even whether it will enhance your knowledge of a particular subject. Your instructors are not just people who grade your work. They are people who will be responsible for providing references for you once you graduate. Now even though you might find a particular assignment to be worthless to your learning objectives or incompatible with your style of learning, completing the assignment could distinguish you as being someone who is willing to "go the extra mile" when it comes to reference time. That might be worthwhile to some students, not to others, but in this job market I would be concerned with ingriating myself in any way possible. Even if you think you don't need them to provide a reference (and many employers for new grads will insist on your providing your instructors as one or more references) you never know when you will need their goodwill if you decide to go back to school to get an additional degree.

    It really is short-sighted to see this assignment as a means to an end (or not) regarding just your grade. It is an opportunity to distinguish yourself in a sea of other students, all of whom are looking for an edge.
    VegetasGRL03RN and sharpeimom like this.
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    If I was confident of the material, no way would I waste my time doing the assignment. My time is limited, I need to concentrate on my weaknesses, not do unnecessary work on something I understand.
    VegetasGRL03RN likes this.
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    I don't think of the other learning assignments as worthless; they just don't allow me to work efficiently. Doing more work doesn't necessarily make you a better student if come test day or in clinical, it still doesn't click for you. When I complete a required assignment, I make it so the assignment meets the required criteria, yet still applies to my preferred method of learning.

    For example, when I had to give a group presentation on PTSD during my mental health clinical rotation, instead of using the science board to post paragraphs and pictures of information, I created a slideshow that utilized flowcharts and bullet points to foster logical thinking. When we had to pick NCLEX questions to give to the group, instead of using handouts with lower level questions, we put it in the slideshow with application and analysis type questions and handed out lettered cards for the clinical group and instructor to hold up. Instead of them just giving the answer, they had to justify the rationale. I chose to do the powerpoint presentation because I am familiar with the program although it was above what the clinical instructor suggested. It cut down on the project cost for the group since two of us were financially-challenged and bytes were cost-effective. It saved study/personal time because we didn't have to meet up to create the presentation on a board; they just did the research on their own time and I incorporated it into the slideshow along with my own info. I mention this example because it is a way to stand out from a crowd of students while still completing the course requirements in an effective manner that facilitated my learning, yet impressed the instructor (she said "we knocked it out of the park").

    I don't believe I gave the impression of seeing the hypothetical assignment as a short-sighted means to an end. If so, I apologize because that was not my intent. I disagree with adding on another assignment in the hopes of gaining more understanding and getting "brownie points." I'd rather alter a required assignment in a way that meets the designated guidelines yet effectively allows me to become secure about a topic while dazzling the teacher at the same time. If you want to impress instructors to improve your standing with them, become involved with the local NSA chapters or committees within the nursing school that have faculty/instructors on board... all while performing successfully on the required materials. For example, in my final semester, I have stepped in to become the student chair of a committee to plan our pinning ceremony, which has three of my current instructors and one from last semester ... all while using the "Studying Backwards" method described in Imprint to perform successfully on our exams thus far. I think this is better approach to displaying abilities to potential instructor references since it demonstrates more sides of a student than just by exams/assignments alone.

    At my school, some of the full-time faculty mention in lecture repeatedly how they want us to study smarter instead of harder, but I came to this conclusion through my own learning experiences (AKA mistakes) throughout the previous year ago.

    Thanks for the replies and I appreciate our ongoing discussions!

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