Strategies for Success
- Develop an online file and folder structure for your files, including word processed files, email, and websites. You might want a separate folder for each class and then for each class project plus additional folders with logical subdivisions. In addition, make backup electronic and print copies of important class materials and class work. Keep portfolios of print materials carefully labeled. Maintain all your writing and course materials until after grade reports have been posted.
- Name Your Files Systematically
- If your professor assigns a filename for a project, use it.
- As you compose drafts, for every major revision, consider changing the last element of the name before the dot to a figure to represent the draft number. For example, for the file your professor says to name skylarks.doc, as you write and revise, name subsequent drafts skylark2.doc and then skylark3.doc for your own management system. Then save the final version you submit for credit as skylarks.doc.
- See Submission Formats for additional suggestions about filenames.
- Back Up Your Work
- Save as you work. Save every time you leave an application. Save files and email messages on your hard drive. Save a backup set on disks and keep those disks in a different building from your computer.
- Print a copy of every important message and document for your files.
- Adherence to all course criteria is important for success in college classes as in the workplace. Following directions is especially critical in online classes, where submission requirements for coursework as well as the criteria for course projects depend on electronic mail and the World Wide Web.
- Make outlines and checklists from the professor's directions so that you can double check your own progress and so that you can ask informed questions about any elements for which you want clarification. As a result, you will be unlikely to lose credit for neglecting to follow directions.
- Students in college and university classes should plan to spend approximately twelve hours a week engaged in each three-credit-hour class (for a typical on-site class, that's 3 hours in class and 9 hours independent work). Because of the special requirements of electronic communication, including software and hardware access, online students should strive to accomplish their goals well before the deadlines.
- Plan ahead: Review the course outline and schedule of course activities regularly so you can budget your time accordingly.
- In a collaborative class, your missed deadline can interfere with the progress of a group, and your work might not be accepted for credit. Remember that an electronic submission is considered as both your attendance and your participation in online classes.
- Always have a backup plan for completing and submitting your work, for example, fax, postal delivery, or personal delivery. Use a computer at a library, a cyber cafe, or a friend's house if your own is unavailable.
- Most people who take classes on line lead busy lives and are already good at time management. If you are not skilled at time management, consult with your professor, capable classmates, or a college counselor for some strategies.