Create the Perfect Class Schedule for Your Online College Degree

Online classes typically offer more flexible hours that traditional campus courses. This is appealing to people who are trying to get a college degree while juggling family life or a full-time job. But unless you are very self-motivated and disciplined, you may find it challenging to complete the work assigned in an online college class.
Here are some simple tips for creating an online class schedule.

Find Your Best Work Times

To make your online college class schedule work, first figure out what times work best for you. For instance, if you work a regular 9-5 job, you may want to give yourself a break for a few hours once you get home and schedule two hours in the evening for your class work. Or if you are a stay-at-home parent, give yourself time to shift gears once the kids have gone to school, and schedule a few late morning hours for class work.

Calculate Total Class Hours

Next, figure out how many hours your online college class would meet if it were offline. Since most online classes are also taught on campus, simply find your class on campus class schedule. For instance, if the on-campus class meets for two hours two days a week, then schedule four hours a week for your online class.

Write Down Deadlines

In a typical class, professors will usually remind students repeatedly of assignment deadlines. But it can be easy to forget deadlines when you are setting your own work and study schedule. Most online classes give students a week to complete assignments. As a result, you should write down the weekly assignments for each course on your class schedule.

Make Time For Meetings

Some online classes require students to meet in chatrooms at designated times. Be sure to write these times into your class schedule since missing these meetings may make you fail the course. You may also want to schedule online meeting times with other students to work on projects or review coursework.

Spread Out Your Workload

It can be tempting to try and get all of your coursework done in a single day if you’re taking online classes. Not only will this make your work harder to finish, but it will burn you out for the rest of the week. The best option is to spread your workload throughout the week. It’s also a good idea to schedule working on specific classes at specific times. For example, you may schedule Business Administration on Tuesdays and Accounting on Thursdays.

Choosing a Schedule

Some online college degree programs are more structured than others and allow a little less flexibility in setting your own schedule. They range from the open-ended self-paced schedule to real-time schedules which create virtual classrooms. Be sure you understand exactly what type of schedule your online courses follow and what is expected with each schedule.
Here are some common types of online college class schedules:

  • Self-paced: take as much time as you like to complete the class and take exams when convenient.
  • Self-paced with deadlines: set your own schedule, but complete assignments by specified deadlines.
  • Follow along: some regular online meeting times and chat room discussion times required, and students required to complete assignments on the same time frame.
  • Real-time: simulated classroom setting via video or audio conferencing with set meeting times and deadlines for assignments.

To learn more about creating the perfect schedule for your online college degree, read: Optimizing Online Education and Tools & Tips For Education Online.