Class semesters online aren’t broken into traditional 16 week semesters. In a traditional setting you would take 4 to 5 classes through the fall or spring semester, but online schools will typically break a class into 8 weeks, or 16 weeks. If you were to take the 4 classes online, while working, most would think you were crazy. The typical online learner, a working adult, will typically take two classes at a time. Considering the demands of online coursework, it’s important to prioritize your time so you can maximize your output.
Break your year into four quarters, just like businesses do. If you celebrate certain holidays you know that’s a time for you to wind down some, so make time to amp up your readings for class the week before that time, and scale back on TV usage.
Some of us still view summer, or Q3, as a big break from responsibility. Scale back on the slacker mentality, and instead of having multiple stay-cations, increase your availability at work and production in class. You don’t need to stock pile on personal and professional priorities to make your school schedule work, instead scale back on some of the more superfluous activities in your life that don’t add much value; e.g. watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey on loop.
If you’ve decided to go back to school, make that your top 3 in the priority list. Take each class with equal importance and sincerity. Just because you’re taking a liberal arts elective doesn’t mean it’s time to goof off. If the discussion posts are encroaching on fantasy football time, then take a break from fantasy football one weekend and let it auto play.
If you’re not sure where the time is, do an inventory of your weekly tasks. Include everything from grocery shopping, to dinner with your friends. There’s always an opportunity to maximize your attention in one are more than another. Procrastinators know this best! Don’t make excuses for activities with no sufficient value. So, when you’re making your New Year’s resolutions this year, have a sit down to map out your “projections” for the first couple of quarters, and compare later on to see if you hit your target.
By J. Mason
Online Learning Tips Editor