Succeed in online classes with good time management skills

When it comes to online classes, you’re probably taking one because: You signed up for the ungodly lecture-discussion section at 8 a.m., eventually realizing you haven’t seen those numbers on a clock since high school — or perhaps never at all. You tried taking the class before with a professor who nagged on you more than a group of 1,000 teenaged girls on an anti-Bieber tweet. Or you’re like me, stuck taking a freshman course my senior year because, well, I was a freshman.

Online classes can be essential in pushing you ahead in credit hours, getting a typically difficult class out of the way or giving you more flexibility in your schedule. And if you want to channel your inner-procrastinator and stereotypical college student, it can be your worst nightmare next to Amanda Bynes’ Twitter account. If you don’t manage your time and take the class seriously, you’ll find yourself wishing you would have taken that 8 a.m. lecture-discussion section with the pushy professor. Below are some tips to surviving your online class.

Manage your time

Although many online classes allow you to go your own pace, content is covered much more quickly. Most online classes are designed to cover the same amount of content as a semester-long course into a six- or eight-week course. If you have one chapter due per week, divide the work throughout the week. Start with online lectures and notes; move on to homework assignments such as discussion posts or practice tests and then end with the chapter quiz or test. This way, you’re working through and practicing the content each day, rather than learning the content and taking the exam in one or two days. It’s also worth spending more time understanding the homework and lessons so that you aren’t scrambling to do so right before the exam.

Check the course syllabus to see if you have extra assignments for a particular week and to make sure you’re doing all the assignments each week as there isn’t anyone monitoring your progress except yourself!

Identify course structure

Many online classes rely on various interfaces for students to view content, complete assignments and take exams. While one website may have your online lectures and notes, you may have to take assessments and complete assignments on another. Other classes — like those at the University that use Compass — may have all the content in one area. Don’t get caught up in trying to remember what you need to do and where, bookmark all the websites and interfaces your course uses, naming them after its function. Aside from identifying the general course structure, familiarize yourself with the grading structure as well. Does the class calculate final grades based on total points or are they weighted? That may determine what assignments you spend more time on and in what order.

Keep up with assignments, emails

Because there aren’t explicit reminders and instructions in online classes, emails from professors are usually important. Sometimes a professor will notify you of an extended deadline for an assignment, a question that was poorly worded or an incorrect answer, or tips and extra practice. Remember that even though you may not be face-to-face with a professor, he or she is still available to ask questions and address concerns via email. More importantly, keep up with your assignments because every point counts. If you’re a hesitant test-taker, make sure to complete all the other assignments to compensate. Chances are you’ll have multiple assignments due each week, but in different forms: discussion posts and responses, multiple-choice quizzes, written reflections. If you want to succeed, track your own progress and keep up with every part of your class.

Adam is a senior in ACES. He can be reached at [email protected]