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Student Online Learning Module

Getting (and Keeping!) Organized

Introduction

Organization is an important skill for students to be successful in post-secondary. When taking online courses this can be difficult because you are not attending class in person, so you may not have a lot of structure or routine. It is up to you to create this structure and it starts with being organized.

                                                                                    (Outlet, 2018)

Don't forget that it's easy to feel frustrated with any transition - it's normal! If you are having difficulties make sure you communicate with your teachers and let them know your struggles. If something about your course completion plan is confusing or unclear, ask your teachers for clarification or help. Remember - you have a lot of support around you, even if it may not feel like it right now.

Schedule and Plan Your Time

​There are many strategies that you can employ to plan out your time and create a schedule that works for you. Try some of these tips below.

  • Attempt to maintain a similar schedule to when you we’re on-campus in-class
  • Choose your preferred method/tool (e.g. paper weekly template or agenda, digital weekly template or google calendar)
  • Review your topical outlines from each class and continue to check your email/SLATE for updates to deadlines
  • Try to follow your current time schedule for classes and work on those tasks during that allotted time. (E.g. 3D class occurs Monday’s 8:00am – 11:00am, work on 3D assignments during this time).
  • Remember to also include time for review, extra readings or discussion posts you might also have to complete
  • Create a to do list – prioritize using most urgent, somewhat urgent, less urgent
  • Do your most demanding tasks during your most productive times of the day
  • Schedule meals, sleep, breaks, self-care, ‘down time’ for the unexpected
  • Take restorative breaks! (avoid going onto social media, checking your phone instead take a walk, make a tea, meditate)
  • Set intentional times to check your phone, emails, social media
  • Be realistic with your time and what you can finish in one day
  • Give yourself a reward for sticking to your schedule!

Chunk Out Your Assignments

Breaking up your assignments into smaller steps will help you get started and will help you stick to your plan. There are tools available to you to help you chunk your assignments out, such as an assignment calculator or an assignment planning sheet.

  • Try this Assignment Calculator from UofT
  • The Assignment Planning Sheet and the due date planner (below) allow you to fill out and check off each step

Preventing Procrastination

Procrastination is when you put off or delay a task. Some common reasons why students procrastinate are: lack of motivation, difficulties with getting started, fear of failure, perfectionism, easily distracted and thinking they have enough time to do it later.

Check out the video below for some helpful tips on stopping procrastination.

For more information visit the procrastination section of our Time Management Module.

Staying Motivated

Staying motivated while doing online courses can be difficult since you are in charge of setting your schedule and staying on top of your work. Here are some quick tips on how you can stay motivated:

  • Tell your family, friends, roommates hat you live with that you will be studying, and working on homework. This will push you to be accountable and help motivate you.
  • Study with a friend on zoom, google hangouts or study with Thomas!
  • Set up a tracking system and reward yourself!
  • Choose assignment topics you are interested in if possible
  • Use motivational quotes (post on their desktop of the computer, post-it notes).
  • 3 Good Things - write at the end of each day 3 good things that happened (1 at least related to schoolwork) and reflect/read these the next day.
  • Set a timer for 15 minutes. Give yourself permission to stop at the end of the 15 minutes, however you usually will keep going.
  • Check out these other useful tips from StudyQuill:

References

Brandon University. (2020). Online resource guide. https://www.brandonu.ca/academic-skills/learning-

skills/online-resource-guide/

Organization. (n.d.). [Image].  https://libapps-ca.s3.amazonaws.com/accounts/16570/images/OMG.jpg

Studyquill. (2017, September 8). How to stop procrastinating [Video File]. YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?

v=qbgnmDNyheU

Studyquill. (2017, November 17). How to stay motivated [Video File]. YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?

v=XqFWwlz2cnA