Several friends have told me that they couldn’t do online school because it would be difficult to stay motivated. Though some online schools are work at your own pace, Our Lady of the Lake University’s online program revolves around an 8 week class structure with multiple assignments due each week. Eight weeks, that’s it. Eight weeks to focus on one class and then you move on to the next class. This provides less time to fall behind, lose motivation, or get tired of the class.
Even though the class structure is very beneficial, an online student needs to learn how to manage his time well. It’s not necessary to do homework 24/7 to be a good online student. Rather, the student needs to plan out his days and weeks to get assignments done without added stress. Most assignments are due on Wednesday or Saturday by midnight. This provides plenty of time to work on them.
It is easy to view when an assignment is due, so you can prepare your time around the assignment. You can organize time to work on homework based around your work schedule and family life. For me it is mainly at night when I come home from work. I eat and then work on homework from about 7-9pm. I also devote a day to do homework on my day off from work. Though I do my homework that day, I always make sure to plan breaks. It is much more helpful to take breaks while doing homework than trying to work on it for 7 straight hours. Not many can do that, but a quick 10-20 minute break helps to retain energy to finish assignments.
A helpful tip is to look at all your assignment due dates the first night when the class opens or during the first week. That way you aren’t surprised and know when big assignments are due like a long paper or role-play video. For example, if you have a paper that is due in two weeks you can schedule extra time in to work on it that week or begin early. What helped me the most was working on a big assignment a little each day rather than trying to finish it the day that it was due. I have a personal goal to finish an assignment a day or two earlier than its due date in order to lower stress. The 8 week structure and consistent due dates have been great since I can easily plan homework time. Doing online school for OLLU does take time management skills, but it’s an important transferable skill that you can take with you in your social work practice.