UTM TimeTracker: New calendar app helps students stay on top of busy schedules

UTM TimeTracker logo of a clock face
Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 4:32pm
Blake Eligh

UTM TimeTracker has officially launched, giving students at the University of Toronto Mississauga a handy new tool to stay on top of busy schedules. Developed by the Office of Student Transition, the free online scheduling platform features a customizable calendar to keep track of courses, assignments, extracurricular activities and grades.

“We’ve heard from students who might be feeling lost in a sea of assignments, but don’t use any kind of calendar,” says Sveta Frunchak, learning strategist with the Office of Student Transition's orientation and transition programs. “This tool provides basic knowledge for students about how to approach managing their own time and create a healthy routine for themselves.”

First-year computational sciences student Kush Mehta, who was part of a group of students who helped to test TimeTracker while it was in development, says that the platform helped him spend his time wisely. “Students can plan their course work while also taking into consideration the time spent on commute, entertainment and even part time jobs,” Mehta says. “You can save the time you always seem to lose.”

UTM TimeTracker can be accessed by any U of T student by logging on to the platform with a valid UTORid. Once signed in, users can upload their timetable directly from ACORN into the TimeTracker which uses that information to populate the calendar with lectures, labs and tutorials for each registered course. The calendar can be further customized with manual entries to schedule non-ACORN information such as ROP activities, extracurricular events and employment, with colour coding options to keep everything in order.

A built-in assignment calculator helps to plan and schedule steps for assignments like essays and research papers. Results can be entered and collected to calculate a grade point average for each course as the semester progresses.

“Research tells us that for every hour of in-class time, students should be spending two to three hours on independent study,” Frunchak says. “This is a great educational tool that will help students learn about good time management habits.”

Third-year life sciences student Anna Aniserowicz agrees. "TimeTracker gives me a visual perspective of how many hours I have to study for tests, especially when I have a full course load and extracurriculars to keep up with,” she says. “Using this tool to map out study times and assignment steps is a great motivational booster, especially when it feels as if the course content is becoming overwhelming.”

Under the TimeTracker’s statistics tab, students can see a snapshot of how much time they have allotted to class, studying and extra-curricular activities. “We know that students do much better when they are involved in something that isn’t related to studying,” says Frunchak. “With this tool, they can check and see how they are dividing their time.”

“This tool allows me to efficiently manage all my work in one place,” says second-year social sciences student Elize Khan. “I am able to plan my study and reading times, which has proven to be super beneficial. If I’m ever wondering what I should be doing at the moment, I can quickly check the tool and stay on track.”

For more info on the UTM TimeTracker, visit the website, check out the User Guide, or try it in-person at campus demonstrations and tutorials hosted by the Office of Student Transition in February and March 2018.