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13 Quick Tips for Students to Be Successful in EdOptions Academy Virtual Courses

13 Quick Tips for Students to Be Successful in EdOptions Academy Virtual Courses

EdOptions Academy courses provide great opportunities for students in need of more flexibility and expanded options, but online learning is far from an easy way out. To be successful in our courses, students must be prepared to work hard, hold themselves accountable, and learn to navigate the unique challenges of online learning as compared to traditional classroom learning.

As an EdOptions Academy teacher, I’ve worked with lots of students in lots of different situations, and I’ve had the chance to see what does and doesn’t work. Here are 13 of the most effective time management and productivity strategies my students have used to achieve success in their EdOptions Academy courses.

1. Make a "to-do" list every day
This should be specific to your EdOptions Academy courses. Prioritize the work that needs to be completed for each day. Put things that are most important at the top of your list, and do them first. If it's easier, use a planner to track all of your tasks. Don't forget to reward yourself for your accomplishments—even small treats like your favorite latte or an hour of Netflix viewing can be great motivation.

2. Attend live lessons, and contact your EdOptions Academy teachers on a regular basis
Your online teachers are here to help you! EdOptions Academy teachers are online on a consistent basis during the day and readily available to help you via an email, an instant message, a text message, a phone call, Google Hangouts, a Zoom video conference, and a variety of other communication platforms.

3. Take scheduled breaks throughout the day
Work with your online teachers, Success Coach, or school staff to set up a daily schedule that includes enough time to complete your daily coursework, as well as opportunities for short brain breaks throughout the day. Keep in mind that your brain break should not include the use of technology! Instead, take your dog for a 10-minute walk, do a few minutes of yoga, work on a puzzle, or anything else that will get you up and moving and stretching different muscles, cognitively and physically.

4. Remember that it's OK to say no
When you’re enrolled in EdOptions Academy courses, staying on pace needs to be a primary goal. If your boss asks you to work on a Thursday night and you have already scheduled yourself to complete specific coursework that evening, realize that it's OK to say no. Similarly, you may have to turn down occasional invitations from friends. Keep your short- and long-term priorities in mind.

5. Check your own course grades
Take the time to do your own progress monitoring. Learn how to check your grades, and do so often. Use the built-in tools within your EdOptions Academy courses to make sure that you are on pace and making steady progress toward your course completion. Communicate with your teachers, and read their constructive feedback on assignments. If there are ever any questions or concerns, work with your teachers or coaches to find the help that you need.

6. Find your right time to work
You'll work more efficiently if you figure out when you do your best work. For example, if your brain handles math better in the afternoon, get through your English assignments in the morning, and block off time for math later in the day. Everyone is different—find the schedule that works for you.

7. Take and review notes every day
Note-taking is such a powerful practice. By taking notes as you work through your courses, you'll reinforce what you've learned, so you’ll need less time to study later. You'll also be more prepared for mastery tests and unit posttests. EdOptions Academy courses have built-in tools to help make note-taking simple and keep your course notes organized and easily accessible. Try using a specific note-taking format like the Cornell method for additional organization. The built-in reading tool can also provide content narration for easier note-taking, especially if you’re an auditory learner.

8. Get a good night's sleep
Running on too little rest makes the day seem longer and your tasks seem more difficult. Establishing a routine, even if you’re not going into a brick-and-mortar school building every day, is key. Try to go to bed around the same time each night, and set your alarm to wake up at the same time each morning to help you get into a better circadian rhythm.

9. Communicate your online learning schedule to others
If phone calls or texts are proving to be a distraction as you’re working independently on your EdOptions Academy courses, set aside specific “quiet hours” for yourself, and communicate those times to your friends and family. It may sound silly, but it helps.

10. Build in time for fun
Figure out how much free time you have each week. Give yourself a time budget, and plan your activities accordingly. You deserve time to relax and have fun!

11. Don't waste time agonizing
Have you ever wasted an entire evening by worrying about something that you're supposed to be doing? Schoolwork can be difficult and overwhelming at times, but procrastination will only harm you in the end. Your EdOptions teachers are here for you, and they want to help you do your best! If you need help or have questions, ask for help. Your teachers are prepared to help you with content-related questions, as well as support you in the events that impact your everyday life. Although they are often behind the screen, they are human, and they are here for you!

12. Keep things in perspective
Setting goals that are unrealistic sets you up for failure. While it's good to set high goals for yourself, be sure not to overdo it. Set goals that are difficult but attainable. Use your EdOptions Academy course syllabus to help determine your daily and weekly goals for each course you are enrolled in. Your coaches and teachers are always available and willing to help you with goal setting.

13. Consider using graphic organizers
Not only can graphic organizers be helpful with the note-taking process, they can also help you tremendously with creating and sticking to a daily or weekly schedule. Here are some free printables that offer great suggestions for creating the perfect graphic organizer for you.

Looking for more tips for success in EdOptions Academy virtual courses? Effective time management skills can be a huge help. Check out these five time-management strategies for students in online courses!

Jennifer.Brooks's picture

Jennifer Brooks has taught high school social studies for over 17 years, including the past 2 years as a full-time virtual teacher for EdOptions Academy in partnership with Global Education Solutions. Jennifer lives and teaches in Colorado.