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Plan Your Time

Managing time is the number one reason why online courses can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you manage.

Plan for the semester, starting with big dates

  • Note all due dates on a calendar or in a planner. Use our semester-long calendar to see the semester at-a-glance.
  • For large assignments, make a list of steps that you’ll need to take to fulfill them. Use this planning tool to break down large tasks.

Do your best to keep up with the course schedule

  • Planning your time and keeping pace with the course will save you from trying to make it all up at the end. It will also provide some structure to your day when you’re at home.
  • Attend your online lectures on a regular schedule. Even if the course is now asynchronous and you can watch the professor’s lectures anytime you want, make it an appointment in your schedule and “show up.”

Create a routine for your week

  • Schedule time to work on the course. Make that time part of a larger routine.
  • Before you sit down to work, set intentions for what you want to get done. For example, for a lecture course, you could schedule about an hour and a half for the following:
    • Preview. If applicable, spend 10-15 minutes previewing before your lecture. Look at the day’s topic on the syllabus: what questions and expectations do you have related to the upcoming lecture? This brief preview will prep your brain to process new content.
    • Listen to the lecture and take notes. If slides are available beforehand, use the main points as a guide to organize your notes. You could even write your notes directly into the PowerPoint. Knowing the main points of the lecture beforehand can help you pay more attention to information that is in the lecture but not on the slides.
    • Summarize. Spend five minutes summarizing the main points of the lecture afterwards. Imagine you’re telling a friend the plot of a movie you just saw.
  • Remember to schedule breaks for yourself in your work time. Setting aside time when you are not working is just as important as working with intention when you are!