For my online classes, spring semester just recently started. For some reason, I decided that taking a full twelve credits on top of working full time would be a good idea. Luckily, none of them look particularly complicated – I’m taking intros and basic general education requirements right now – and I think some basic time management will get me through.
The challenge with online classes is not just that I’m totally responsible for my attendance and due dates, but that many online classes require more attention than traditional classes. For example, one of my professors suggests that I visit the class discussion board at least four times a week! Very few college courses would require that kind of daily commitment.
These classes also require a lot more teamwork than one would generally expect from, say, a college math course. During the mini-term I spent a lot of time covering for teammates who couldn’t be bothered to do anything. I hope this is better during the full length terms.
All of this means I need to keep my courses in the front of my consciousness every day – without letting them take over either my work or my personal time. My trick is to place a large number of course-related triggers in my to-do list. Homework and quizzes show up on the day before they’re due, but “check discussion board” items appear almost daily. They keep me from forgetting to follow up once I’ve made my initial post, or from forgetting to post at all until the last day.
It may make my to-do list a lot longer, but it also means I can forget about discussion boards and teamwork projects when I’m not actively engaged in them, freeing up valuable time for my brain to worry about other things, like global warming and how bad the G.I. Joe movie is going to be.