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Time Management

How can I set up a time management plan or schedule for myself?

When taking online courses, students must have all the skills necessary to be successful in traditional college courses. They also need the movitation and discipline to be independent learners.

The following list includes some time management tips for students taking online courses. Successful students are those who are organized and have good study skills and good time management skills. We encourage you to review your individual time management skills and hope you can plan for yourself by using the following list of tips as a guideline.
  • Identify goals and priorities. You must identify what your goals and priorities are. You must decide if getting an education is high on your list of priorities and know what you must do to get what you want. Don't forget about including your family or current job while thinking about this. Be aware of what you want to gain out of your education experience. Identify what is most important to you and what you must do.

  • Think about how you currently spend your time.  Begin keeping track of everything you do. Include ALL activities such as class attendance, work, study, recreation, commuting, sleep, exercise, hobbies, social activities, etc.

  • Evaluate your usage of time. How much time do you spend doing everything? How much time do you spend sleeping? In class? Working? Once you figure this out, you can now evaluate your use of time. You can also decide whether your time is spent efficiently or inefficiently in relation to your priorities and goals.

  • Develop a plan on how you can use your time more efficiently.  When evaluating your usage of time, you may have found some time issues that are not in line with what you should be doing to reach your goals. You can use this information to change your life by taking control of your time. You can start by building a realistic time schedule that gives you the time you need for the activities that relate to your priorities and goals. If education is high on your priorities list, you will have to make time for attending classes, preparing, assignments, and studying.

  • You MUST stick to your new schedule.  Unexpected demands and events may occur, so some flexability is always necessary. However, if you do not stick to your schedule and spend too much time on non-priority tasks or activities, you will not meet your goal. 


Online Course Planning Tips

How can I best plan and manage my time while taking an online course?

  • Keep a 'Things to Do' list.  Keep the items in order beginning with the most important.
  • Take your major projects and break them down into smaller tasks that can be tackled one at a time.
  • Carefully evaluate your tasks and prioritize. If you have an assignment due, don't do time consuming tasks that can be done at a later date. For example, does the car need washed today or can it wait until a later day? You can also delegate and negotiate tasks. For example, ask yourself "Who else can wash the car?".
  • Tackle muliple tasks at once. If you can do more than one thing at a time, do it! If you are going to the library to prepare a report, also work on a research paper or look up a reference you may need for another course.
  • Think about your habits and routine tasks. Could you save time by changing routine actions or do them in a more efficient way? Could getting up 30 minutes earlier each day be more helpful?
  • Find out when you work your best. Some people really are "morning people" or "night owls". Realize when you are at your best and use that time wisely.
  • Say "no". Sometimes, there are not enough hours in the day to do everything you want to do. You must learn to do what needs done to meet your goals and say "no" to those that do not.
  • Be flexible. You can still remain in control, but you must expect interruptions. They will occur. But if you are following your schedule and doing thing in order of importance and priority, you and your schedule will be able to easily survive these unexpected events and still easily avoid any additional stress.

Study Tips

How can I make the most of my study time?

  • Make a study schedule!  Add study times into your weekly schedule and make sure to stick to it. To make sure you have enough study time to meet goals in each course, you must plan for it! Make sure you arrange your schedule so that you study during your best concentration times. Also make sure to schedule enough time for sleep and rest so that you are well-rested when you study.
  • Write down all your assignments!  Keep them all in one place - such as a weekly planner book - and make sure you understand your assignments. Keeping details written down all in one place will help you avoid forgetting something and from getting unorganized.
  • Don't forget that "study" includes several different tasks. This may include reading material in preparation for class, completing assignments, reviewing class notes, etc.
  • Know that different subjects may require different types of studying or preparation.  For example, foreign language and math classes may demand more time spend on lessons and exercises to learn techniques while lecture classes may require that you review your notes after class and preview a new topic before class.
  • Adjust your study schedule to fit your study habits. Schedule breaks in your learning sessions. Make them fit your attention span by studying for a certain amount of time and then taking a short break. Also schedule review periods. To remember material over a period of time, you must review it often. You can even review during small bits of time outside of your usual study period. For example, your wait at the doctor's office may be used to review material.
  • Start your study sessions with setting goals.  Know what you want to accomplish and work to meet your goals.
  • Work with the most difficult and complex material first.  Leave your routine and more mechanical tasks for last.
  • Vary your subjects and types of study for maximum efficiency.  While studying, do various exercises that may include reading, writing, recitation, etc. By changing it up every so often, you can stay more interested and alert.
  • Don't always study in the same place.  Memory is colored by location and if you can change your location for many study sessions, you are more likely to retain information and remember it in any setting.
  • Try studying with a buddy or in groups.  Working with another may help you work through a hard task or assignment more easily and understand the material better. Just make sure your buddy or group will not make you lose focus and get caught up in chatter. If you cannot stay on task, you will not meet your goal.

Additional Academic Help Information

Where can I find additional information that may help me with my online course?

There are several websites that can help you with your online courses, but you must be careful when looking for help online. Many websites may have incorrect information or require registering with your personal information, so make sure the websites you use are dependable. (Your instructor may also be able to suggest dependable websites that relate to a specific course or topic.)

The following links are websites provided by WVU-P that can help you with your course.


The WVU-P Library Website - Here you may look up books, magazines, etc., in the college library as well as find links to encyclopedia websites, research websites, and links to several other informational websites that include dictionary/thesaurus, news, facts, music, quotations, biographies of important and famous people, images, and more.

The WVU-P Student Services Center Website - This is where you may learn about tutoring, become a tutor, and find several helpful links that can assist you in certain subjects.




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