Organizing your time in Online Education – Diana Conway, Online Contributor
Online education is such a privilege, especially when it accommodates work, family obligations and is the most affordable option. From a personal journey of online education, I would like to share a few factors that made the journey more successful. Begin with a course load you know you can manage. There is an academic learning curve and time management implementation, marked by trial and error that will bring you into uncharted territory. Your initial experience will forge your overall attitude about online education and the more motivated and confident you are, the more joy and success you will experience. Along with course load selection, begin with classes that peak your highest interest and relate with your current base of knowledge and experience.
Designate allocated times and locations for your studies. This should factor times when you feel most attentive and available to accomplish uninterrupted work. There is never enough time to do everything you plan, so it is essential to prioritize what is most important. It is also necessary to have reasonable expectations for maximum learning. Often we can accomplish more in 20-30 minute segments than in a four hour window. We learned quickly that 7 am at the dining room table on a school day was one of the worst times to accomplish work, as well as on a date. “Planned neglect” became a key phrase in our household because you cannot add more to your schedule without letting something else go. Evaluate aspects of your time and responsibilities that can be delegated, made more efficient, and eliminated. It is essential to have clear boundaries that facilitate uninterrupted study times, as well as times when no attention is given to your studies, to prevent burnout.
Online education requires planning ahead and utilizing every window of opportunity that comes your way. Whenever possible, accomplish projects early and have materials with you for the unexpected available time that may come your way. Set reminders, use apps and have your calendar handy. Avoid procrastination by sticking to your schedule and being prepared. Make lists, set daily goals and continue to encourage yourself in the Word, reminding yourself of the value of the education you are pursuing. Eat well, sleep well, remain physically active and stay in community with your friends and family.
Rely on your strengths as a learner to help you succeed. Factor in creativity and fun to bring life to the material you are learning and bridge it to life application. Familiarize yourself with your public library, the periodical data base and others who will be a resource and learning support. Use online sites to add to your understanding and share information and resources with others in your classes.
As you engage your online community of learners, you will develop a support network that will remind you that you are part of a team, working towards a great cause. Remember that your professor is there to help you succeed and ask the questions you may have. Stay inspired and remember this commitment represents “Loving the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.” He will be your guide and your strength as you seek wisdom with diligence and discipline.