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How to Stay Focused in Your Online Courses

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400 200 OnTheHub Team

We’ve all been there—it’s the end of the semester and you suddenly realize you’ve only completed 50% of your online course! It can be easy to lose focus in an online class since they’re entirely self motivated, but don’t let this happen to you. Keep on top of your online course by following these tips and you’re guaranteed to stay focused, calm and prepared throughout the semester.

Keep a Weekly To-do List

Keeping a to-do list of weekly readings, assignments or deadlines will help you make sure that you get everything done. Giving yourself tasks every week—even if there are no deadlines looming—will also help you keep up with the course content. In online classes, your instructor probably has a weekly schedule set up for you. Stick to it to prevent playing catch-up later in the term. Try a program like Things for Mac to keep your tasks managed and in one place.

Set Up Alerts for Deadlines and Due Dates

This is a good rule for all classes, but especially for online courses. Put all the deadlines and due dates for assignments in your calendar, either on your phone or on your computer, and set an alert for a week before deadline. If deadlines don’t exist or all occur at the end of the semester, set some for yourself! Many online learning management systems for online courses also have their own built-in calendars, so make use of them.

Set Aside Time Every Week

Look at your schedule and set aside a day or a couple of afternoons every week to work on your online course. Scheduling it for a certain time of the week will force you to keep on top of the work without struggling to find the time to get it done.

Reach Out to Your Instructor

You might feel like you’re on your own during online courses, but remember that there’s a living, breathing instructor on the other side of the computer. Reach out to your instructor if you have a question or need clarification on the material. If you have a strong grasp on the class material, this will keep you from putting off assignments and readings. Instructors are often happy to even meet up in person to discuss the class, provided you’re in the same city.

Find a Study Buddy

If you’re the type of person who needs a little external motivation, find a friend who can commit to a weekly study date during which you can work on your online coursework. If you’re feeling brave, you can even post on your course’s online message boards to see if any other students taking the course would like to form a study group. By doing so, you can support each other in understanding the material and getting the work done.

Procrastinating can get you in trouble in the long run, so keep yourself on track in your online courses as best as you can. These classes are often super flexible, so make your course work for you by fitting it around your life as best as you can. Whatever you do, don’t leave the entire course till the end of the semester. If you chip away at it over several months, final exam season will be a breeze.

Photos: Stuart Jenner / Shutterstock, BlueSkyImage / Shutterstock, sergign / Shutterstock, wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock,


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