I'm a college English instructor, and this fall, I’m teaching my first online class. In addition to being online, this class is also totally asynchronous, which means that there are no required Zoom meetings; all of the coursework can be found in the textbook and on our Learning Management System, Canvas. Though I always try to make deadlines clear, both on Canvas and in reminder emails, students are expected to complete assignments by their due dates with little prompting from me.
For me, and for many of my students, this last part is new territory. I think that the nature of my course makes it easy for students to forget to complete work if they’re not careful. I assume this may be the case for many online classes this semester, whether or not virtual class meetings are required. So here are my tips for never missing an assignment when learning online:
1. Write down deadlines
This first one is the key to success in any course - not just online ones. Take a look at your class’ syllabi, course schedules, Canvas/Blackboard/Google Classroom and write
down every assignment and its deadline in one centralized place (not 100 post-its
scattered around your room!). This will keep you organized and aware of what’s coming
up. No surprises!
2. Make a weekly plan
Now that you have your deadlines in plain sight, think about what assignments will be
due in the coming week. On or around Sunday, consider what other obligations - like
work, family responsibilities, and social plans - you have this week. Then, figure out how
you’re going to block out time throughout the week to do schoolwork. Doing this at the
beginning of the week will ensure you don’t end up doing way too much schoolwork on
one day. What else happens when you aren’t in a mad rush to hit “submit”? You’ll be able
to confidently give assignments your best effort and produce work you’re proud of.
3. Don't be afraid to ask for help
You might have followed the first two pieces of advice and still find yourself feeling
overwhelmed. Speaking as a teacher, I want to emphasize one really important thing: it's
always okay to reach out to us for help. We're here to help you learn the material and
pass our classes, not to punish you or keep you down. And if you still feel like you need a
little extra one-on-one guidance, consider talking to your parents about local tutoring
options. If you're local to the OC area (or even if you're not, but you're comfortable
working with us via Zoom), Thinque Prep is here to help.
I hope these tips help you stay on top of things as you begin online courses. It's a weird, challenging time for both students and educators, but we'll get through it together.