Pay attention to your own rhythms
When are you sharpest during day? When are you typically sleepy? When do you have most energy?
If you are most sharp during morning hours, schedule time before you leave for work to do your assigned readings. If you work best in middle of night, schedule your project time at 10:00pm to 1:00am. If you get sleepy in middle of afternoon on weekends, use that time to take a nap or to take a walk – don’t schedule your study time during that period.
Remember that you have to be alert to study and learn well, so schedule your study time at optimal points in day, not when you know you’ll be tired.
A special note to parents: Most parents with small children really can’t do much of anything until late at night when their kids are in bed. This “quiet time” may be ideal – unless you are exhausted. If you are, consider going to sleep when your kids do and scheduling study time very early in morning, before everyone else wakes up. Or, schedule specific times on weekends, shut door and let your family know that you are not to be disturbed during those hours.
Time management checklist
Drive your own desired results with these effective time-management skills that keep your online learning on track. Use this checklist:
Set time aside throughout week to participate in discussions and ask questions Schedule time to match your personality—that is, when you study best Monitor how motivated you are Apply self-discipline as necessary Allow for “off-line” writing, researching, and studying time Print longer documents for easier reading Read all comments to avoid duplicating responses Develop relationships with other students Use word-processing programs for longer responses to ensure accuracy Report technical difficulties immediately to administrator and/or instructor Motivate yourself to do assignments or prepare for online discussions
COURSE DELIVERY FORMATS
Live vs. Synchronous vs. Asynchronous vs. Self-Study
There are basically three types of instructor-led course formats: Live, Synchronous and Asynchronous. Self-Study courses make up fourth common online format. Let’s look at these four formats in more detail.
Live: These are real-time seminars, panel-discussions, workshops or other presentations that are delivered online by technologies known as webcasting or streaming. The events are “streamed” into your computer over Internet in real time. These types of presentations fall into two other sub-categories: one-way or interactive (bi-directional). One-way means you sit back and watch presentation on your computer like you would watch television. There may be exercises or projects involved, but you are not contributing to online discussion in real time. The other option, interactive, means that you can participate live, in real time, buy live chat, calling in, instant messaging or emailing questions to presenters. Usually, in these cases, there is a moderator who takes questions from online audience and feeds them to presenters.
Note that participating in live streaming requires specific software on your computer, a high-speed broadband connection and ability to live chat, IM or email in real time.
Synchronous: A synchronous course is one that takes place at specific times, with everyone “meeting” online. Unlike a Live course, a synchronous course can be as simple as an instructor designating a specific “class time,” such at Tuesday night from 7:00pm to 10:00 pm, where he or she will be “present.” During that class time, students can access lessons, reading, post exercises and assignments and get feedback from instructor via message boards, email and sometimes telephone or conference calls (students dialing into a toll-free conference line). Unlike real time streaming, a basic synchronous course is all about “meeting time” and less about technological capabilities. A synchronous course could be conducted with downloadable PDFs and message boards only, if such a case could even be accessed by student via a dialup connection.
Asynchronous: An Asynchronous course is one where student can access course information at any time of day, 24/7, and post their exercises and assignments at anytime. Feedback from instructor is intermittent, as instructor is also reviewing student postings anytime of day, 24/7. In this scenario, a student may post a question on Monday evening and receive an answer from instructor on Tuesday afternoon or evening. All of interaction is thus, “time shifted.”