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Getting Started with Online Learning

Getting (and Keeping!) Organized


Introduction

Organization is an important skill for students to be successful in post-secondary. When taking online courses this can be difficult because you are not attending class in person, so you may not have a lot of structure or routine. It is up to you to create this structure and it starts with being organized.

 

image of study supplies

(Image source: Outlet, 2018)

Don't forget that it's easy to feel frustrated with any transition - it's normal! If you are having difficulties make sure you communicate with your teachers and let them know your struggles. If something about your course completion plan is confusing or unclear, ask your teachers for clarification or help. Remember - you have a lot of support around you, even if it may not feel like it right now.

Schedule and Plan Your Time

‚ÄčThere are many strategies that you can employ to plan out your time and create a schedule that works for you. Try some of these tips below.

  • Attempt to maintain a similar schedule to when you we’re on-campus in-class
  • Choose your preferred method/tool (e.g. paper weekly template or agenda, digital weekly template or google calendar)
  • Review your topical outlines from each class and continue to check your SLC email for updates
  • Try to follow your current time schedule for classes and work on those tasks during that allotted time. (E.g. COMM class occurs Mondays 8:00am – 11:00am, work on COMM assignments during this time).
  • Remember to also include time for review, extra readings or discussion posts you might also have to complete
  • Create a to do list – prioritize using most urgent, somewhat urgent, less urgent
  • Do your most demanding tasks during your most productive times of the day
  • Schedule meals, sleep, breaks, self-care, ‘down time’ for the unexpected
  • Take restorative breaks! (avoid going onto social media, checking your phone instead take a walk, make a tea, meditate)
  • Set intentional times to check your phone, emails, social media
  • Be realistic with your time and what you can finish in one day
  • Give yourself a reward for sticking to your schedule!

Chunk Out Your Assignments

Breaking your assignments into smaller steps will help you get started and will help you sticking to your plan. There are tools available to you to help you chunk your assignments out, such as an assignment calculator or an assignment planning sheet.

Staying Motivated

Staying motivated while doing online courses can be difficult since you are in charge of setting your schedule and staying on top of your work. Here are some quick tips on how you can stay motivated:

  • Tell your family, friends, roommates hat you live with that you will be studying, working on homework to be accountable and help motivate you
  • Study with a friend on zoom, google hangouts or study with Thomas!
  • Set up a tracking system and reward yourself!
  • Choose assignment topics you are interested in if possible
  • use motivational quotes (post on their desktop of the computer, post-it notes)
  • 3 good things - write at the end of each day 3 good things that happened (1 at least related to schoolwork) and reflect/read these the next day
  • set a timer for 15 min (give yourself permission to stop at the end of the 15 min, however you usually will keep going)
  • Check out these other useful tips from StudyQuill:

Preventing Procrastination

Procrastination is when you put off or delay a task. Some common reasons why students procrastinate are: lack of motivation, difficulties with getting started, fear of failure, perfectionism, easily distracted and thinking they have enough time to do it later.

Check out the video below for some helpful tips on stopping procrastination.

Credits: This guide is adapted with permission from Sheridan College. Original guide: https://sheridancollege.libguides.com/onlinelearning