Organising your time – MindViews timeline feature for assignment planning

In today’s blog post I’m going to discuss one way in which you can use MindView’s ‘Timeline’ feature for planning an assignment. This can be a useful, visually accessible way to plan your time that is easily customisable and (this is the useful part), at any point during the process, rearrangeable. This means if something pops up unexpectedly you just create a new section for it, and adjust your timeline accordingly.

Furthermore, the ability to view a % completed bar can be really motivating and helpful for some students. This feature allows you to mark down when you completed a certain section of an assignment, which is then taken and analysed in comparison to the amount of tasks still to do. Use this with a pinch of salt however, because it automatically gives equal weighting to all tasks- something which most students know is not the case! You may end up with one section taking a week, and another taking a few hours. In this case, a way to get around this would be to compile your smallest tasks into a subheading underneath your main branches, and assign your larger tasks to the primary branches. If this isn’t helpful for you in terms of dates of completion etc. then feel free to completely disregard this feature!

This post assumes the reader has a basic working knowledge of creating a basic mind map in MindView 6. For any help with this or any other MindView functions please visit www.wyvernportal.co.uk for video and pdf tutorials on how to use many DSA provided assistive software kits.

mind map showing an assignment outline

To begin create a new MindView document. I decided to make this one based on an essay I have due soon. I named the central theme, then started mind mapping the kinds of tasks I needed to do. This may be different depending on your course area. For example, a lab report or engineering project will have different components, try to separate these components into their main chunks if you can. I decided to use a numbering scheme for this task, which I don’t usually for my revision mindmaps, but I found this to be a useful way of keeping me aware of which points came at the start and end of this mind map. I did this using the ‘Numbering Scheme’ button in the task bar at the top of the page. You may prefer your mind maps to be top-down, right to left, or a number of different configurations- you can change this, along with the colour scheme using the design tab on the task ribbon.

A simpler way to quickly change the map’s layout can be seen by pressing on ‘MapView’ (to the right of ‘Numbering Schemes’) in the ‘Home’ section of the task ribbon and choosing from the drop down options.

Now that you have the basic bones of your task in the mind map format- you can then view it in it’s Timeline format through the ‘View section’ then ‘Timeline view’, in the task ribbon or via keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+4).

Screen shot of MindView time line feature

Because I’ve already edited the start and end dates for my tasks, it’s displaying nicely in timeline format to the right of this screen. However, I prefer to use the ‘Outline’ view to edit my task duration etc. because it’s visually more simple.

Screen shot of outline view

Here you can see the ‘Outline’ view, which is where I prefer to edit dates and task details. I’ve added some sub-branches beneath branch 2 ‘Choose topic/Essay Question’. You can hide these sub-branches by pressing the minus icon to the left of branch 2. You can also minimise and maximise sub-branches in mind map view with the +/- icons next to parent branches.

changing-dates-in-outline-view

To change the start and end dates of a branch double click on the date you want to change, and either typed the date in dd/mm/yyyy or select from the pop-up calendar option on the drop down option. Once you have assigned start and end dates you can choose to ‘filter’ or ‘highlight’ branches according to certain criteria, for example overdue or ‘critical’ tasks. This can be accessed in the ‘View’ tab of the task ribbon, and the criterion can be changed with their respective drop down arrows. The filter tool is really useful if you’re struggling with organisation or feeling overwhelmed, as then you see only the tasks that are urgent or overdue etc. instead of the whole to-do list.

Screen shot of priority settings

You can also add the start and end dates, completion level or priority to your base mind map using the ‘show branch data’ button in the ‘view’ task ribbon. This can be useful for some people, but others might find it visually overwhelming so choose not to.

Screen shot of time line feature

Similarly when you go back to your ‘Timeline’ again, you can use the highlight feature (in this case I’ve set it to highlight critical tasks) and as you can see it’s put a red box around ‘Submit’ and yellow highlight to the left in the task outline.

Screenshot of re-set style button

This highlight is carried through to your mind map view as well- as you can see above. (The theme has changed because I was fiddling with the outline/timeline colour schemes, this can easily be reset to default using the ‘reset style’ button in the design tab on the task ribbon.)

Screen shot of exported copy of file to Word

Now, you’re done! You can also export this timeline, mind map or outline to MS Word (for example to create the bones of an essay plan), Powerpoint, PDF etc…

Or you can export to an image- e.g. if you want to print it out for your wall/notes, share it with others or set it as your desktop background as a reminder. You do this through File>Export in MindView and then select from the options to choose your desired destination and file type.

Again, for any help with how to use MindView or other DSA provided software please visit www.wyvernportal.co.uk for video and downloadable PDF tutorials. Captions are available on their video tutorials. You don’t need to have DSA funding to use this website- just create a free account with your email address. You can also access https://www.matchware.com/product-manuals for the specific MindView product manuals in PDF format, which I use CTRL+F in to find key words such as ‘keyboard shortcuts’. There are also plenty of YouTube tutorials available for further help!

Thanks for reading,

Rachel