Myths of Taking an Online Course

In this post, I’m going to briefly discuss some common myths about taking online courses, as well the myths that I initially believed before actually taking an online course.


There are a lot of myths out in the world about pretty much anything: jobs, budgeting, and fast food, to name a few. Likewise, there are myths about college courses, both traditional and online. Today, I will be discussing some of what I think are the more common myths of online courses, and address them according to my experiences.


Myth #1: “I can do this whenever.”

In an unstructured class, sure. But I’ve realized, this is college, man. You will have deadlines, and for multiple assignments, not just one at the end of the semester. Most often, you’ll have coursework due weekly, in an attempt to keep everyone enrolled in the course at about the same pace. If you thought you could put it off until the end, tough luck.


Myth #2: “It won’t take as much time.”

Haha, yeah right.  I nearly screwed myself over at the start of the course because I didn’t give myself enough time to complete the coursework. I managed to get back on track after finding my rhythm though. My best tip is to pretend that your online course is a regular course and build “class time” into your day to ensure you get it done. Humans are known to be creatures of habit after all, so if you regularly do your coursework like any other class, you’ll have an easier time managing online classes. Personally, I aim for at least 3 hours during the week.


Myth #3: “It’s not as hard as a traditional course.”

This kind of ties into Myth #2. Online courses can take just as much, maybe even more than traditional courses. With tasks such as discussion boards, students are expected to make quality posts. I find I really have to think about what I put out there, and be careful that I phrase my comment appropriately, as this is an educational setting, not a casual meeting. There are also other issues to manage, such as potentially needing to adjust your note-taking style from a traditional to an online course. Or perhaps you haven’t found the right place that you can focus without being distracted. (If that’s the case, I highly recommend you figure out what kind of location you need to do your online coursework ASAP because it helps. It really does.) Just remember, if you do find it a little tough to keep up with assignments, talk with, or email your professor. It’s their job to help you, and as long as you’re on good terms, they’ll probably try to make something work.


Hopefully, you found this post helpful, and can take some of my recommendations and apply them to your current, or future academic career. Thanks for reading! 🙂

Doing Well in an Online Course

Today, I’m going to share 3 tips about what I do that has helped me succeed in my online coursework thus far.

#1: Schedule Time For the Class

It may seem odd scheduling time for a class that you attend online, but this has helped me so much when getting coursework done. At the bare minimum, I spend 3 hours a week doing the coursework. My goal is to touch a little bit on it each day. One of the first things they tell you when you get to college is for every credit hour, plan 2-3 times that amount for homework and readings. I would argue this is just as true for online courses.

As you can see from my sample schedule, I did some here and there where I could, rather than doing my coursework all at once. You may have also noticed that not all the time increments were the same. Some days, I would work for an hour at a time, other days it was closer to half an hour, or 45 minutes. This has really helped with reducing my stress levels, and making my life easier to manage.

#2: Break Down the Weekly Load

Every week, there would be an announcement going over what would be due during the week. Most of the time, there were 2 or more assignments due on Friday, and 2 or more assignments due on Sunday. Personally, I don’t want to spend a lot of time doing homework on the weekends, so I do my best to get it all done before Sunday. Even more importantly though, I believe spacing out the work and creating your own deadlines is helpful as well. For example, I would make sure that one assignment that’s due on Friday gets done by Wednesday, and an assignment for Sunday gets completed by Friday. This way I don’t have to worry about multiple assignments all due at the same time on the same day. That was stressful enough in a previous experience where I started to drown in the homework. I simply couldn’t keep up.

#3: Know Your Limits

Finally, I believe it’s important to set boundaries for yourself. If you know you won’t be able to focus after 7pm, please don’t attempt to do your homework after 7pm. In my case, I simply wanted the evenings to relax, so I created a rule for myself to finish all homework for the day by 6pm. If need be, rearrange your schedule to make it work. For example, I have 8am classes 3 days a week, but to be consistent, I get up at 5:45am every weekday anyway. The days where I don’t have 8am classes, I spend that extra 1.5 hours getting homework done so I don’t have to worry about it in the evening. Of course, this means I go to bed kind of early, too. I’m usually asleep by 9pm, sometimes 8:30. If you’ve gotta change your schedule to get your homework done, be sure to be flexible about it. Don’t take this as “I’ve gotta quit my job” or something if you’re working full-time. Maybe change your hours if that’s okay with you, or some other tactic.

How I Handle Task Management

In today’s blog post, I am going to share some methods that have and have not worked for me in regards to task management. I’ve been meaning to put this up sooner, but here it is! I’m only giving my top 3 to keep it short.


#1: Use Your Productive Hours

From what I know about myself, I am most productive in the later morning/early afternoon. Therefore, I do my best to schedule my homework assignments during that time frame.  Throughout high school, I used a paper planner just because I am a very tactile person.  That, and I love to draw. With a paper planner, I could draw while the professor was talking and I wouldn’t get in trouble for it. 🙂 Writing with a pencil on paper just isn’t quite the same as typing on a tablet. I find I forget content very easily if I don’t write it with paper and pencil/pen.

#2: Know Your Deadlines

Another aspect of task management that I think is very important is knowing your deadlines. If you have a general idea about your deadlines, you can break down assignments into smaller chunks and space out the workload. In the case of this online course, I found it easier to set deadlines for myself that were before the actual deadline listed in the syllabus. This way, I don’t find myself trying to crank out assignments on the due date, or sacrificing sleep in order to complete the assignment the day before. Personally, I need my sleep, and if I don’t get enough, it’ll be a rough day. In this aspect, I set my own deadline to be done with all homework for the evening by 7pm, so I have the rest of the evening to prepare for bed and other daily necessities.

#3: Find a Pattern That Works For You

In high school, I was starting to get a feel for my study methods when I would break coursework into 30-minute, or 1-hour chunks. In between different subjects, I would take a 30-minute break. For the most part, this method worked. The only issue was that a 30-minute break was too long for me, and I would easily get distracted.

I used to read a blog called College Info Geek. I was doing my best to prepare for college life, and what information would be best to go in with. There was one post that talked about studying, and the Pomodoro Technique was one of the ones recommended. This method is where you set a timer and work for about 25 minutes, and then take a 5-minute break. After 4 rounds or so, you’d take a longer break of 15-20 minutes. I tried this method, and found 20 minutes was also too long for me. Personally, I would bump the 25 minutes up to 30 minutes because I’m a little OCD, but overall, the method did it’s job. I just didn’t stick to the structure as well as I’d like to.

Now as a college student, I’ve found that working in 1.5 hour chunks is the longest I can go before I start to get bored. So I do most of my homework in 1 hour blocks, and use 1.5 hour blocks only a couple times a week. I give myself a 15-minute break in between each hour of studying if I have consecutive assignments to do. With 15 minutes, I have enough time to take a short walk, reorganize my thoughts, or just take a few minutes to breathe. It’s long enough for me to take a break, but short enough that I don’t get sidetracked.