Juggling family, work, and school is an art. You can do it, though, as long as you plan carefully.
As a distance learning student at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, you do not have regularly scheduled courses and study periods. You will be responsible for making time for the work.
Most 16-week courses will require about twelve hours of your time per week, per course. More time will be needed for shorter courses.
With online courses, your typing skills, familiarity with the software, computer, and Internet connection can all affect the time you spend.
Time Management Tips
Choose a credit load you can handle.
When planning your schedule for each term, it is important to consider how much time you have to devote to your coursework. Utilize the Time Management Calculator to assess how much time you have to devote to your classes based on other commitments. Be careful to not underestimate.
Map out your daily schedule.
Set a schedule each week to study and complete coursework. For example, if you see that you have 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. free Monday through Friday, make a serious commitment to study during that time.
Discuss your schedule with your family and others who may be affected by it.
Support is an important aspect of earning a degree. Share your academic goals with your family and friends so that they understand your commitment to study.
Put your completed schedule in a prominent place.
Let your schedule serve as a constant reminder to you and your family of your study time. Put your schedule in a place where it will be seen every day and leave it there until studying becomes a habit. Remember, a good study routine does not just happen.
Become familiar with your computer and any software you'll be using.
In the first week or two of class, signing on and getting to know the online tools you will be using for your course should be a planned part of your schedule for schoolwork.
Designate a study place.
One hour of studying in a place that is conducive to your study habits can be more effective than four or five hours of studying in a place filled with distractions.
Experiment with different types of study environments to determine which one works best for you. Each person has different preferences: some people need complete silence, while others need some background noise to study most effectively. Keep records of what works best for you with each course. You may find that different study environments are needed for different types of courses.
Complete assignments early.
If possible, complete your assignments early. Not only will you have extra time to review your work, but you will allow time for any unexpected complications such as sickness, family emergencies, power outages, etc.
Set personal goals for completing big projects.
For large papers or projects, set small goals for yourself and work on completing them a little bit at a time.
Stay on track.
Once you get behind, it is hard to catch up. Many instructors will even allow you to work ahead on assignments and readings. Talk with them and see if this is an option for you.
Remember, sometimes "life happens." Illness, emergencies, and other circumstances you cannot control may cause you to miss a few days of studying and reading. It is easier to get back on track if you've worked ahead.