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Classes on campus are scheduled at the same time daily or weekly. Students go to class and then work on additional class activities and assignments outside of class. Online classes are different because there is no class attendance scheduled each week. Although some classes do have an hour each week of virtual class time where everyone meets online together, this is usually optional and if schedules don’t work out, then students can review the archives for class meetings at a later time. Even though attendance at a specific time and place are not required, online students still need to have a schedule for completing the class activities and assignments. Not having a schedule can lead to procrastination and late assignments.

Routine and repetition increase successful learning. Students who put off academic work until the weekend, and then complete everything in one or two days, are not as successful as those students who work on class activities and assignments every day of the week. These class activities and assignments include participating in discussions, writing essays, taking quizzes, reading, and taking notes on weekly learning resources.

Students need to schedule school work to make sure there is plenty of time to get everything completed with extra time left over to proofread, revise, and polish the assignments before the actual due date. Rushing through an assignment at the last minute on a due date is never a good idea and instructors will be able to tell that you did not take sufficient time to produce the best work you can. A schedule ensures that your work is thorough and well written.

Here are two sample schedules, weekly and daily, to help ensure success in online classes. Based on individual work and family activities, you can make changes where necessary to fit academic work into your own daily and weekly timeframe. An example of a schedule change might be combining activities/tasks for two days when you need a free day during the week.

Weekly

  • Day One: Review and read all required materials for the week
  • Day Two: Draft the discussion post
  • Day Three: Proofread/revise/polish/submit the discussion posting
  • Day Four: Draft the writing assignment and read/respond to classmates’ discussion posting
  • Day Five: Read responses in the discussion and reply where appropriate; review/revise assignment draft
  • Day Six: Finish the discussion participation requirements; proofread/revise/polish assignment.
  • Day Seven: Perform one more proofreading of the assignment and then submit. Don’t wait until the last 2-3 hours before the deadline hour – submit in the morning or early afternoon on the due date.

Daily

  • Read announcements
  • Check email
  • Login to the classroom and check the Question forum to see if there are any new questions/answers.

We all have to-do lists and calendars for work and family events. With all those tasks in daily life, making time for studying and homework needs to be scheduled ahead of time. Without a planned routine for online class work, it is just too easy to put off doing the work until the weekend or the due date. Make a plan that works for you, both daily and weekly, and then stick to it the best you can. If you have to skip a daily task, be sure to add it to the next day so that you are still able to complete all your work on time.

Do you have a study tip that helps you complete your online class work on time? Please share in the comment section.