Becoming An Online Learner - Time


No matter how convenient or flexible online education may be billed, taking a course online takes time. You might be saved commuting time in an online course, but you might also spend more time dealing with technology concerns. Whether the time you spend on course-related work is more or less than you might experience in a traditional, classroom-based course, it is still time you need to reserve and manage carefully. When evaluating your online course options, consider how much time you have to dedicate to coursework every week during the term, and investigate or estimate the time commitment the course will require from you.

Managing Time

Online learners often benefit from carefully structuring what time they have available. Identify what time of day or night you do your best work, and when you are able to access to the Internet and your course materials. Set aside a certain time each day, or a few days during each week, to work on your course, and stick to this schedule. Be aware at the start of the course whether you are required to participate in activities at any specific times, and plan these well ahead. Bear in mind also that you could enroll in an online course based anywhere in the world, which can mean that course-related activities are scheduled in a time zone other than yours.

Balancing Responsibilities and Setting Priorities

Vital to a successful online learning experience is the ability to balance your responsibilities, both within and beyond your course. Knowing how to set priorities is key to getting the greatest benefit from your online education experience. Find out before or as the course begins exactly what work is required of you, and do your best to plan ahead. Inevitably you will have more tasks to accomplish than you have time in which to complete them. At times like these, do your best to determine which course activities are most vital, and concentrate on those. Do not hesitate to ask for advice or help from your instructor.

Managing Stress

Just because a course is delivered in an online format does not necessarily increase or reduce the stress you may experience taking it. Consider your own sources of education-related stress when choosing to take courses online. If you feel high stress from giving in-class presentations, then an online course would probably save you from that kind of stress. On the other hand, if using computers and related technology makes you experience excessive stress, you might reconsider taking a course online, since most online courses rely exclusively on computer technology. Strategies for managing course-related stress include: Know your deadlines. These include course deadlines as well as deadlines and important events occurring elsewhere in your life while you are enrolled in the course.

  1. Plan ahead. If you know that your time will be consumed by a non-course related activity during a particular week, do your course-related activities ahead of time
  2. Ask for help resources, especially technological resources, and have them at hand when you are working in your course
  3. Keep in touch with your instructor. If you do fall behind, let your instructor know immediately, and ask him/her for assistance in planning how you will catch up