At some point in your college and professional career, you’ll most likely need to take an online class. They can be great, as they can save you time and money and teach you valuable skills that may just help land you a dream job or spark a passion.
However, I also know that they can be terrible. They can be hard to handle and can make you want to rip your hair out if you’re not prepared.
As someone who has seen both ends, I now know that the stress can be avoided. Learn from me, and follow these tips the best possible experience (and grades) out of your online class.
Schedule Time to Work
Now, I’m not saying you have to go all out and create a 6-week plan outlining the time every day that you will spend time doing work. If you can/do then wow, good for you.
If you’re in college, that may be a little easier, but it can be extremely hard to set a certain time every day.
Something new will always come up, I promise.
To simplify it, pick a time of day, and an amount of time to work on your online class.
If you don’t have a class until noon and you decide you need to work for an hour, then wake up at 10, work until 11, and then give yourself a break.
If you know you won’t get home until late the next day, plan on working from 9-10. Sometimes, the hours won’t be the best, but hold yourself to working at least a little bit every day. Then, you can plan for bigger assignments, tests, homework, etc.
First: you have to make lists.
It doesn’t matter what you use to make them, do what’s best for you! I personally use a bullet journal and so all my lists have been in there lately, but there are so many options.
Sticky notes, your phone, online, in your agenda. Whatever you use, make sure you will see it every day.
Depending which class you are taking, prioritizing can be different.
Here is how I plan my weekly assignments for an online class:
- Do the easiest thing at the very beginning of the week. Gets one thing checked off and helps amp up my motivation for the next assignment/day.
- Pick the two hardest/most dreadful assignments and break them down into little sections you can work on throughout the week. It feels a lot better to do 20 minutes of an assignment every day than 3 hours on Saturday night.
- Break down your work hours like this: 30 mins of easier assignments, 20 mins of hard ones, 10 min break. If you set a time frame, you’ll have motivation and a deadline to work towards. You can do a lot more work in 30 mins than you think.
- On Wednesdays, asses yourself. Are you on track for this week’s assignments? Do you need to dedicate a little more time each day? Or are you doing well and will be good to go when your deadlines come around? Adjust your schedule accordingly.
Nothing drives me crazy more than sifting through a crazy assortment of files and images on a flash drive looking for an assignment.
Save yourself a ton of time, and organize from the beginning.
Here’s how I organize my files:
Time frame: assignment
Like, for my 6 week class, I organized my files like this in my Google Drive.
My favorite part of any study sesh. Doing work isn’t always fun, so why not make it as good as it can be? Sit yourself down with your favorite drink to push you through your work time.
Need energy? Grab some coffee. More relaxed? Have some tea (hot or iced). Whatever will keep you relaxed and happy, feel free to sip during your class work.
Find a Great Spot
There’s always that one place where you are suddenly way more productive than you’ll ever be in your room. If you haven’t found that yet, don’t worry! Try out different spots until you find one you love.
For me, I’m a lot more productive in the library or in my room than I am in a study hall or bustling cafe. You might be the exact opposite! And that’s awesome!
Whatever spot makes you focus and helps you feel comfortable is where you should work, whether the class is online or not.
Learn the Way You Learn Best
One thing I’ve learned recently is that everyone has a different learning style. Some can learn just fine from reading a textbook, while others are more visual, and some are more hands on.
That can make it really hard to learn a class online, especially if you’re not a person that can just understand after reading something through a few times.
This quiz is an awesome way to assess the way you learn best. I took it at the beginning of the 2016 school year and it changed my mindset. It’s super simple and takes almost no time.
If you’re struggling in school, taking this quiz might just help you understand yourself a little better, and show yourself how you need to study in order to do better in your classes.
A great way to learn online class material is to study while doing other things. Listen to a video on the subject on the bus to school or work, or during a run. Read material on the treadmill at the gym. Find a podcast on your lesson and listen to it in the car.
Thanks to technology, you can squeeze in little pockets of studying that can make a big difference.
Use Google Drive
If I had to pick one thing that I think every student should have, it’s an account with Google Drive. It’s an online thumb drive that you can access anywhere.
You can type documents, make spreadsheets, edit slide shows, and even make surveys. Plus, it saves automatically, so no more research papers disappearing at 3 AM.
It’s free, it’s amazing, and its great for organizing your assignments and files for your online class.
I hope these tips help you feel better about taking on your next online class! Remember, you’re awesome.