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Programs of Study / Online Learning

Staying Organized: Time Management

Time management may be the most important skill for successful online students. Online students must be very proactive in their studies and take responsibility for their own learning.

There's a lot to keep track of for your online classes. Most instructors won't send frequent reminders about readings, assignments and due dates. You will be expected to use the syllabus and course calendar to help you keep track of deadlines. Many online students are juggling jobs and a family while taking online classes, which means it's especially important to stay organized.

Organization & Time Management Tips

Use a calendar
You can use a traditional calendar, paper organizer, your phone, or an online calendar. Whatever you choose, be sure to take some time at the beginning of the term to write down the due dates for your assignments. Even better, plan ahead and make a note to start on the assignment several days before it's due! Once you pick a time, stay committed to that reserved time and treat it like an appointment that can’t be budged. Check your calendar regularly. If you use a calendar on your phone or computer, set alert systems to send you reminders.

In an effort to keep you informed regarding important drop and payment deadlines, college holidays, and registration dates, there is a CEI Academic Calendar.

Plan for the unplanned

Make sure your schedule is flexible. Overestimate the time you will need to accommodate unexpected interruptions, family plans, work responsibilities, or possible illness and any number of eventualities you can't anticipate.

Schedule time to relax
You won't be able to focus or retain what you learn if you don't allow yourself some down time.

Don't procrastinate
Online courses allow you to work at your own pace to some degree. Don't let this flexibility tempt you to put things off until the last minute. When you put off starting the essay that's due at midnight on Sunday until Sunday evening, that's when your computer is sure to fail you. Many students who don't succeed in online classes lack the self-discipline and motivation to sit down and get their work done on a daily basis.

Resist distractions
Find a quiet place to study. Develop strategies to filter out disturbances. Giving in to distraction will only impede your progress.

Use your resources
If you find yourself struggling with an assignment and feel like you're wasting a lot of time, seek help! There are lots of resources to help you. Here are just a few ways you can get help:

  • Tutoring - you can work with a tutor on campus in the tutoring centers or use online tutoring for free. The CEI Tutoring Center
  • Online Resources - search for a tutorial online or contact a CEI librarian to get help finding study aids. The CEI Library
  • Contact your instructor - You can call or email your instructor for advice, or to set an appointment to get extra help.

Are online courses right for you? Take this quick survey to find out!

Helpful Links


Ryan Faulkner, EdD

Jennifer Taylor
Instructional Designer

Connor Spurling
Instructional Designer

Evan Peterson
Instructional Designer

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