Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Staying on track

If you're taking online classes, keeping up with them can be difficult, especially later in the semester. I know for me, I have the most trouble with them at the very beginning of the semester-- when I'm still getting used to having to do actual work-- and towards the middle, when I've started to lose all motivation. Here's some tips for staying on top of your classes, online or otherwise:

  • Schedules. I've started making spreadsheets in Google Drive (or you could do them in Excel, or whatever else) of all the work I have to do for each class and when it's due. Even just updating it, I feel productive. Everything's all color-coordinated. It's much cheaper than a day planner and much more organized than a simple to do list, but it provides the satisfaction of both.
  • Set aside time. If you get into a weekly rhythm of, say, Do Class A & B's homework Monday and Wednesday, Class C's homework Friday morning, Class D's homework on the weekend, it's really easy to stay on track. Assuming, of course, that nothing unexpected bumps you off your schedule.
  • Keep track of your grades. I mean, it's good in general to know where you stand in a class so you know what you need to do to get the grades you're okay with (and whether you may need to consider withdrawing). But what I learned to do in high school is to calculate what scores you need on tests in order to pass the class and study however long you feel you need to meet that minimum. Ideally, we'd all devote our full attention to all the classes we're taking, but it often doesn't work out that way. So it's definitely helpful to know which classes you can afford to wing your way through, especially by the time finals roll around.

Full disclosure: I don't devote as much attention to school as I should or as I'd like to, but I think that's the case for a lot of people as well. Many people just can't afford to, with jobs and other responsibilities. But my point is, these tips are pretty much the minimum-- as in, even I do these things, so clearly they don't require that much effort. In my experience, they work, too. As long as you know what amount of work you personally need to put in to get passing grades.

Stay classy,

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