Before 2020, taking online classes was something that college students could decide if they wanted to add to their schedule or not. Now they are the norm and finding a class that is meeting in person is like striking gold. Throughout my college journey I have taken every combination of classes you could imagine – everything from all on campus classes, a combination of online and on campus classes, even a hybrid class that met both in person and online. Needless to say, I have learned a lot of tips that have taught me how to ace online classes.
For some, taking online classes was an easy transition while others have found it harder than expected. Previously I have shared how to take online classes as a hands on learner but I figured it would help you to have these important tips I have learned as well.
I have put together a list of the 6 most important time management tips for taking online classes and actually doing well in them.
This post will give you my top tips to ace online classes with better time management.
Important Tips For Taking Online Classes
The format of distance learning has changed significantly since I took my first online class five years ago. While discussion boards and textbook readings used to be the main focus, there are now zoom meetings that require you to actually be present like you would for a normal on campus class. However, one thing that hasn’t changed for you to ace online classes is the need to manage your time effectively.
Create a Schedule & Stick to It
The best thing to do to manage your time to ace online classes is to create a schedule. Since everything is done completely online, you might find it easier to push off assignments and classwork that you would normally have scheduled meeting times for.
Using time blocks will be the easiest way to create a schedule that actually works for you. The time block categories I recommend using are priority blocks (your classes), free time, essential blocks (your chores/housework), and work. Using these will make sure you aren’t focused on school 24/7 so you can still have a life outside of classes.
Start by scheduling your classes into your day, then add your work schedule, free time, and essential blocks.
Have a Specific Workspace
Having a designated workspace allows your mind to know that when you are in that area, it’s time to work. Avoid doing zoom meetings from your bed or homework on your couch. To create an effective work area make sure it is distraction free, organized, and has everything you will need for getting work done so you don’t have to keep getting up.
Organize Your Classes
Organization is an essential part of being able to ace online classes. Since everything is online, it can be easy to let your desktop get cluttered with downloads. To make sure everything has a ~digital~ home, I use Microsoft OneNote. This is the perfect tool because it allows you to take notes, add documents, and any important information for the class.
Keep Track of Due Dates
Without the constant reminder of deadlines from your professor in the classroom, it can be easy to forget when things are due. In order to take up as little brain power as possible, try to get all your deadlines written out. I used to do this at the beginning of my semester in my planner with colored pens. However, dates often change and I would end up with a bunch of scribbles on my calendar.
The best thing I have found is to use an online system like Todoist or Trello and create categories for your classes then add assignments with due dates. You can change due dates without the hassle of crossing things out, get notifications sent directly to your phone, and move things around as needed.
One of the most important things I can tell you about getting good grades is to take breaks. In order to ace online classes (or any class for that matter) you need to avoid burnout as much as possible. Notice how I included free time blocks in the section about creating a schedule. If you have assigned times to work on your classes, you know exactly when you will be done and what free time you have available to hang out with friends or lay on the couch.
My favorite method for taking breaks is the Pomodoro Technique which has you work for 25 minutes then take a 5 minute break and repeat 3 times then get a longer break. To help track this you can use something like TomatoTimer.
The biggest struggle that students face is procrastination. This is what leaves you waiting until 10pm to start an assignment that is due at 11:59. We’ve all been there. Let me tell you, the stress is not worth it!
With all the extra time you have on your hands since you don’t have to be on campus for class, you might find yourself wanting to push off assignments even longer than normal. But don’t do it!!!
Some good ways to overcome procrastination are to reward yourself for completing work, meet with a motivated friend (even over zoom), and keep a study journal that tracks what your main distractions are – then eliminate them 😉
This post taught you how to get good grades in online classes in college.
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