Monday, January 12, 2015

Keeping Up With Online Classes: How To Stay Organized

Today marks the first day of Spring Semester for us here at UNCW, as well as many of you I'm sure. With 3 of my classes being online this semester, organization and scheduling is key. There's no one reminding you take take your online exam, or turn in your homework by midnight. To avoid the unfortunate accident of forgetting about an online test (been there, done that) I've put together tips for staying on top of your online classes.

First and foremost, you need a daily planner.

As soon as the syllabus/schedule comes out for your online class(es), write the due date for everything in your planner in pencil. Homework, projects, papers, quizzes, and tests. For me, most happen to be due by 11:59 pm on Sundays for two of my online classes, so Sundays look pretty full for me. You also want to see when assignments (including tests and quizzes) will open up/be made available for you. While it's easy to wait until Sunday to do everything, it will be overwhelming, and you'll want to start on big projects right away instead of remembering them the day they are due. Make a note in your planner of when you can start an assignment.

Pick a dedicated day each week for each assignment. For example, I have to write in the discussion board every week for one class. It's due Sunday night, but I can do it anytime starting Wednesday of that week. I've decided to make Wednesdays my Discussion Board days. I put that in pen. Your eyes will be drawn to the dark pen ink when you first look at your planner, versus light pencil. It's even better if you use a colored pen! Then I know to do the Discussion Board on Wednesdays, but if something comes up I know I have until Sunday.

I set days aside for each assignment, and make them due on the same days every week. This helps get myself into a pattern. Since I only have one night class on Wednesdays, I write down more assignments for myself than I would on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which are the days that I babysit and have a class. I try not to schedule anything for Sundays, so that I don't accidentally forget anything or am not able to finish something in time. Also because I know that I'm a procrastinator at heart, and will inevitably push something off until Sunday. My advanced scheduling gives me the wiggle room to do so when needed.

Secondly, put reminders on your phone/laptop.

I put the true due dates (Sundays) in my phone's calendar, with a reminder alarm set to go off at noon on that day. There are times I forget to look at my planner, which is how I ran into the issue of forgetting about an online test last semester. It happens to the best of us, but let's avoid it when possible, shall we? I also added the true due dates on my laptop's calendar, and a reminder bubble will pop up the day before anything is due. This way it's nearly impossible to forget about an assignment.

Online classes can seem daunting, especially if you're taking more than one. While it is hard not having a professor or friend reminding you that you have a test on Tuesday or a paper due Friday, I've found that I actually am more organized with my online classes than my traditional ones. If you take the time to write in your planner and schedule reminders, you will be just fine. It actually is a little less stressful than traditional classes because you don't have to worry about finding parking or getting to class on time, and you know when everything is happening in advance. I wish you the best of luck!


  1. I'm taking seven… yes seven! Online courses.. It's killing my already! I find I have to make lists and schedules as well or it becomes sooo over whelming. It's pretty hard not to procrastinate!

    1. Oh my gosh SEVEN?! I'm thinking about picking up a fourth on top of my others and traditional classes, and I thought I was crazy! Good luck!

    2. I'm going to be taking that amount this semester as well. Yep w/o's overwhelming.

  2. I have three online classes this semester...I have never had so many! I will be using some of your tricks or else I will always think that I'm forgetting something!

  3. I have my first online class this semester and don't know what to expect or how to keep up. This is the best advice ever.

  4. Nice blog, I will use these tips for my 3 flex term online classes


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