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Tips for Online Students

Time Management

When enrolling in a 3-credit hour online class, plan to spend about 10-12 hours per week on that class. Without the regular structure of face-to-face classes, it is very important that you develop a plan for managing your study time so that you don’t fall behind…you need a unique plan that works for you.
For example, what demands are you juggling in your life (Job? Parenting? Other classes?) and how do they affect the amount of free time you have each day to devote to your studies? Is there even room in your life for a college class? Do you prefer to do school work often, in small chunks or less often, in larger chunks of time? Are you more productive early in the morning, mid-afternoon or at night?
See what plan fits you….one size does not fit all!

  1. Do a time audit to determine how much time you have available.
  1. Develop a schedule that builds in study time for your online class: Sample Schedule Template 
    • Schedule some time at least every day or two to check into your online course site for announcements, to read discussion boards, and do other quick activities. These times can fit in and around your job and other responsibilities.
    • At least two or three times a week, schedule time to do the course reading or work on other assignments. Most online courses have weekly deadlines and are not self-paced. These study periods are best scheduled on a regular basis, like you might have done when going to a live class. For example, Wednesday evening, 7-9 p.m. and Saturday morning, 9-11 a.m.
    • Schedule at least one block of time each week to work on larger projects, whether that be extensive research for a paper, meeting with your fellow students in the chatroom to work on a team project, or catching up on several online activities before the quiz. If possible, choose a day that you are free most of the day so that the block of time can expand if you need it to get more work done toward a major assignment.
    • Schedule time without interferences.
    • Using the syllabus or the calendar in your Learning Management System as a guide, record all deadlines, due dates, and test dates in your own calendar. Keeping on task and planning ahead is a major success strategy for online learners.
  1. Do not put off your work until the last minute.
  1. Allow enough time for technical problems too. They always seem to happen on the day something is due! 
    • Tip: set a deadline for yourself that is a day or two before the actual deadline so that unforeseen circumstances won’t derail your ability to turn in your work on time.
    • If you have a large assignment, set yourself some mini-deadlines so that you get going earlier and can keep on task (e.g, Sept. 1 choose topic; Sept. 15 identify top three references; Oct. 1 complete note taking on three references; Oct. 15 Develop paper outline based on notecards…..etc.)