Managing Course Work

If you are a student working in an online environment, it is critical that you learn to manage your workload effectively. This involves managing your time and your course work, taking advantage of available online tools, including the tools within your course, and accessing support that is available within your learning management system and from your institution. By developing a solid plan for your studies and making a point of asking questions when you need support, you will be further down the road to successfully completing your coursework.

Using Your Learning Management System

Depending on the learning management system at your institution, such as Canvas, D2L or Blackboard, you should have access to either a user-manual or help tutorials within your course or on your home page. Early in the course, locate and preview the materials available for support. If you are having difficulty and cannot find the support you need, contact your institution or your instructor.

Accessing Support

In an online course, it is crucial that you look for help when you are having difficulty. There are several places where you may find help available:

  • Your instructor should be your first contact when you require support with the course materials. Look for instructor contact information within your course page on your Learning Management System.
  • Technical support may be found on your institution's website in the form of a help desk or user manuals.
  • Should you require additional academic, disability or personal support, contact your institution to access available resources.

Completing Course Work

Course work in an online classroom is not easier than course work in a traditional classroom; in fact, it may take you longer. Extra time is needed when completing online course work because you are working more independently. You are required to search for answers to your own questions, wait for communication from your instructor and peers, and make assumptions about written instructions. This is a time-consuming process, and if you make false assumptions or cannot find an answer to your question, you may waste study time. To make sure that you are successfully completing your course work, follow these simple tips:

  1. Read through the course materials to become familiar with the course requirements. Look for details such as assignment deadlines, quizzes and exams, readings, technology requirements and grading policies. Also, use the course outcomes  to give you a broad picture of the course's key concepts.

  2. Set deadlines for yourself using the calendar tool in your learning management system. It is advisable to set your deadlines at least a day earlier than the actual due date just in case you run into some challenges.

  3. Track your progress using your course checklist. The course checklist tool will list all of the assignments for the course with their due dates. Depending on your learning management system, you should be able to track your progress through the course by clicking off each assignment as it is completed. If your course does not have a checklist, make your own.

  4. Preview assignments before you complete your weekly readings. This will focus your reading and note-taking. As you read, look for the information that will help you complete the assignment(s).

  5. Compose assignments and postings as Word documents so that you have a back-up copy of your work saved to your computer.

  6. Understand in advance where and how assignments should be submitted. Ask for help early if you need it.

  7. Review feedback provided by your instructor and apply any suggestions for improvement to your next assignment.

  8. Seek help through your instructor's office hours, your institution's student support website or a tutoring service if you are encountering difficulties in your studies.