Student working at their desk with their laptop, notebook, and coffee
23 February, 2021

Taking online courses is a great way to practice independent learning and it allows more free time! However, it’s important to stay on track and organized because falling behind in an online course is a slippery slope. Time management and organizational skills are very important for online courses. Here are some tips to help you successfully complete your online courses.

1. Read the Course Syllabus and write down your deadlines

Review your course syllabus & write down in whatever organizational tool you use, all your course deadlines for assignments, readings, tests, and finals. This way you can plan ahead in order to complete tasks for your course.

2. Make a study schedule

Create a schedule that has a certain number of hours allocated specifically for your course. Use this time to complete readings and work on assignments. Try to stick to it 95% of the time because understandably, life happens.

3. Find a Productive Workspace

An online course requires you to complete most of your lectures, readings, assignments, and finals online. Make sure you have a space, it can be a coffee shop, your desk in your room, the library, where you can complete your work without distractions. Your study space should have a high-speed internet connection, the required materials, a snack, water, and headphones! P.S. turn off any electronics that can be distracting!

4. Limit Distractions

Put your electronics on "Do not Disturb" mode. Inform the members of your household when you are working and need time to focus. Keep any distracting item in a different room than where you are working.

5. Hold Yourself Accountable

When you start your course, set goals, and do weekly check-ins with yourself to make sure you are keeping track. If you are still having difficulty holding yourself accountable, find a classmate, a.k.a an accountability partner.

6. Practice Time Management Skills

Good time management skills can help prevent last-minute exam cramming and handing in poor assignments. Figure out which time of the day you are the most productive and section off dedicated study blocks where you focus entirely on your work with no distractions or interruptions. Try this! Set a timer for 30 minutes to do work. After the time is up, take a 5-10-minute break. Repeat this cycle until your task is completed.

7. Actively Participate

Online courses usually have forums where you can ask and discuss questions with your classmates, teaching assistants, and professors. This is a good way to learn new information, get feedback, see what questions your classmates are asking, and get clarification on certain topics.

8. Treat Your Online Course Like a Job

You have to consciously choose to show up for your course and complete tasks. Set daily goals and make checklists to help you complete tasks. Accomplishing small goals is more effective and less daunting than only setting one vague goal.


Author: Julia Coupland, Student & TRG Summer Staff

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