Remote learning requires that you be more organized and deliberate with your schedule. Below are some helpful tips for managing the remote workload of a course:
Use your course(s) syllabus to add assignment dates and times to your calendar
- Visualize your semester. Using your syllabus, create a calendar for the term, with dates for important assignments, quizzes/tests, etc., marked, then work backward to determine how much time to set aside for those big projects. Make note of personal events that might require you to work ahead in order to complete your class work, or weeks when school work will need to dominate your schedule. Communicate with your instructor about any changes to assignments in response to the move to remote teaching and learning.
- It's OK to evaluate and revise your calendar when necessary.
- You can link the calendar built into Canvas or export it to your preferred calendar service such as Windows Live Calendar (accessible with your UMSL student email account) or Google Calendar (requires a Google account).
Keep a task list of things you need to get done each day
- Each week and/or day, create a list that takes both short- and long-term assignments into account, as well as what you need to accomplish personally (work, household chores, exercise, family and social time, and personal time). Prioritize what must be completed, and if there aren't enough hours for everything, omit or reschedule some of your other obligations to give full concentration to your studies without feeling guilty about what you're NOT doing.
- Determine the most important and time-consuming parts of a project and complete them first. If you run out of time, you will at least have completed the majority of a project.
- Allow time to eat well-balanced meals, sleep eight hours a night and relax alone or with friends or family. Your physical and mental health contribute significantly to student success. Leave enough time in your schedule for your physical, social and recreational needs.
- Look critically at your habits and methods. Use lists to keep yourself organized and save time. See where you can combine activities or use your time more effectively, like thinking about topics for a paper while you exercise, or running all of your errands in the same neighborhood.
- If a written list is too overwhelming, consider a calendar app to send yourself reminders. You can use paper-and-pencil, a plain-text software application, or use an online service such as Microsoft OneNote, Evernote, Any.Do or many others.
Create a study space
- Create a study space for doing course work to help you get in a school mindset, someplace you don't associate with another activity, like your bed or your TV-watching chair. Consider creating a routine for "going to class" to associate studying with your study space—take a short walk, move to a different part of your home, change your clothes, go to a library—something more than just changing tabs in your browser. If you're distracted by clutter, pick up your study space before you settle in to work. If you live with other people, consider a way to indicate you're doing homework, so they don't think you're playing around online and can be easily interrupted.
- Figure out what helps you focus. Do you learn better in a formal seated position at a table, somewhere soft and comfortable, or somewhere you can pace or move around? Do you need a silent environment, or does music help you focus? What level of light keeps your eyes from feeling strained? Set up a space as conducive to your learning as possible.
Claim your time
- If you haven't already, now is the time to learn how to say "no" without feeling guilty. Insist that others respect your time. It's easy to get pulled in multiple directions with school, work, friends and family. It's not only OK to prioritize your studying, it may be necessary to protect the time you've blocked for schoolwork—it can easily get absorbed by other tasks and obligations.
- If you are struggling, don’t understand or feel really lost, always ask for help—from your colleagues, your loved ones, your instructor, or campus resources. Don't wait until you have to scramble to catch up.