Now that you have a clear understanding about why you are taking classes, it is time to plot out when you will be working on them this semester. Taking a college course is a definite time commitment. And while online classes give you flexibility, they frequently require more time than classroom based courses, not less. In an online course, it is essential that you check in one or more times a week and that you do the reading assigned for the course in addition to the practice exercises or the graded assignments. To budget your time appropriately, allow three hours each week for every credit you are taking. So, if you are completing six credits of classes, make sure you budget 18 hours in your schedule for doing your reading and coursework. This is equivalent to a part-time job! Furthermore, when scheduling your classes, allow 15 minute breaks for every hour of uninterrupted study to allow yourself to retain what you are trying to learn.
It is best if you actually pull out your calendar and mark in the times that are already committed to things like work, meetings, or other necessities. Also mark in the time you need for meals, commuting, and sleep. After that, pencil in the hours you intend to spend studying. View these in your mind as your “class time” and try to keep them as consistent as you can every week, so you create a habit. Then, on the first week of classes, “attend” your class by logging in during the first scheduled window and complete as much of your first week’s assignments as you can. Most classroom based courses encourage you to miss no more than two class periods a semester. Try to be at least this faithful to attend your self-scheduled online study periods. When it comes to taking online classes, building strong habits is critical to success!