Microsoft Word Templates

The first day of a course I’m teaching is fast approaching and I’ve been thinking about the importance of organization and the communication to students of what is expected of them each day.

Microsoft Word Templates simplify the planning of course materials, homework schedules, essay deadlines, and exam dates and give students and instructors alike a quick reference tool to figure out what needs to be completed when. What I particularly like about the calendar template is that you can legibly fit six weeks’ worth of assignments and the like onto one page. That means that you only need create one page for a short summer course, or two for a regular semester. Of course, you can play around with the row heights if you don’t need to include much detail in each box, but this template is easy to work with if you don’t want to spend a lot of time creating and formatting tables.

Creating a calendar is quite easy. I’m using Microsoft Office X on a Mac, so those are the directions I’ll give. I know that older versions have similar tools, so anyone should be able to do this.

First, when you open Word click on “Project Gallery” under the “File” menu. Then click on “Calendars” on the left and several layout options will appear.

The horizontal calendar seems to be the most useful, since it’s more about content than special effects and photos.

In the “Month” field I’ve put the title of the course, and in the “Year” field, the semester. You can completely change the alignment of these labels, as well as adjust the font height, type, etc.

Just fill in the cells with the daily content, homework assignments, or what-have-you. I could see using a couple of different calendars throughout the semester: one for homework, to distribute to students, and one for brief lesson plans, for the instructor.

This all assumes you are after a paper calendar. Although I haven’t tried it yet, you could also create a Google calendar that the students can import into their own calendar¬†applications. Has anyone tried that? The advantage to that would be quick, easy, and paperless edits, as well as e-mail notifications. For now, I’ll stick to the paper but would like to give the paperless option a try once I have more time (post-dissertation defense!)…


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