During your online academic career, you will inevitably find yourself in a situation where you have extra time during the week, but you also realize the following week will be packed. This is an official statement to let you know that it is okay to work ahead. Go ahead. Read that chapter, write that paper, and even write that message board post.
Of course, all of this varies on what is accessible to you when you start your course, but more often than not, teachers are very open about what they have planned for the semester. This allows students with unprecedented access to the assignments and questions the teacher will throw their way.
In the case of message board posts, the typical format requires that you answer one question with a 200-300 word post. Then you must respond to at least two to four other students’ posts. Many teachers leave the future message boards exposed, but keep them locked. If that is the case, you can write up your initial post and wait for the teacher to unlock the message board before posting. By doing this, you already spent the bulk of your time writing. Posting is easy.
Reading ahead can be trickier especially if you are unsure what the teacher wants you to take from the chapters. For example, if the teacher uses a format where you must answer essay questions about the reading, but you do not have access to those questions for next week. However, if the teacher has provided them, then move forward with confidence.
Regardless, never feel like you are breaking some unwritten rule that prevents you from getting ahead of your coursework.
Online Learning Tips, Student Contributor