Thursday, January 3, 2019

Tech Tip: Spreadsheet Instructions

This is a totally new experiment for this semester, and I hope I will get good feedback from people to help make this spreadsheet practical and useful for others. Here are the instructions for how to use it:

1. Make a copy. Use this link to the spreadsheet to open the file and then choose File - Make a Copy to create your own editable copy. You can change the name of the file if you want.
I would also urge you to put your email address in the updates form so that as I find/fix problems with the spreadsheet I can let you know! This is very much a work-in-progress.

2. Learn about the columns and colors. There are seven columns here, and you edit only TWO of them: you will edit the points DONE column as you complete assignments, and you will use the points PLAN column to create/adjust your plan for the semester.
Col A Name of the assignment.
Col B Points remaining in the semester.
Col C Points DONE: assignments completed.
Col D Points PLAN: assignments you plan to do.
Col E Due Date (not counting the grace period).
Col F Sort. This column sorts by availability.
Col G Alert. This column shows plan errors.
Blue cells: core assignments
Green cells: extra credit
3. Learn the automatic functions. Here are the different things that happen in the spreadsheet based on data you enter and/or the calendar:
Col B Points remaining in the semester. When an assignment is no longer available, the cell goes blank. This happens for two reasons: the due date passes OR you record the points in your "Done" column.  
Col F Sort by availability. This column starts out with all the assignments in numbered order. After a due date passes, "1000" is added to the number in this column. That means when you sort the column, items with past due dates go down to the bottom: Week 1, Week 2, and so on at the bottom, with only the current weeks up at the top. To see the whole semester, just sort on Col A again; Week 1 will be back up at the top.
Col G Alert. The "alert" will show up when you have missed a deadline for something you planned to do. If it is still during the grace period, you can get the work done. If not, you'll need to adjust your plan, replacing the points you missed with points for another upcoming assignment.
Col C/D Done/Plan. When you enter an item as "done" in Column C that will automatically make it part of your plan. That's helpful when you first set up the spreadsheet and are entering the work you already completed, plus if you do an assignment that you had not planned on doing, it automatically gets included as part of your plan.
4. Record your work so far. You will want to go through and record your work so far, week by week. As you enter points in the Done column, they will automatically show up in the Plan column too.
You will know you have done that correctly when the Points Done Total matches what you see in Canvas.

5. Make a plan. Now you can make a plan based on the assignments you want to complete for the rest of the semester in addition to the points you have completed so far. You can put points into the Plan column, and you will see the Plan total increasing. You'll want to get to 410 for an A, 360 for a B, or 320 for a C.
I find it helpful to do the items in that column in yellow to help it stand out:

6. Record your work. As you complete each assignment, record it as "Done" here in the spreadsheet AND record it in Canvas. You will be able to compare the Points Done here and your points total in Canvas to make sure you haven't missed anything.

7. Watch for alerts. If you see an alert in the alert column, that means you need to adjust your plan! You can also change your plan at any time; the alert column is just there to make sure you adjust your plan as needed when you miss a due date.

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