Online classes can be a blessing, offering flexibility and convenience to students juggling work schedules and other obligations. Students returning to school are often surprised to find they don’t need binders, notebooks and heavy textbooks since everything is available online. However, you have to keep your digital life organized if you want to achieve online school success.
Students who are new to paperless classes often find it hard not to have paper copies of their syllabi, reading materials and assignments, but all these can be managed digitally when you keep things organized online.
Start on Day One by making a folder for each class on your computer and ensuring you download important things like the class syllabus and assignment instructions to place into the folders. That way, you won’t have to go online to check this information.
Every time you create or save a document on your computer, you’ll be creating a digital file. If these are not carefully organized and managed, they can be both difficult and annoying to locate, and the problems don’t stop there.
According to recent research, the chaos of a cluttered environment can restrict your ability to focus, as disorganized files will compete for your attention and reduce your mental resources.
While you’re at it, create a backup system by setting Microsoft Word to auto-save every few minutes so your hard work won’t digitally dissolve if the power goes out.
With a service like Google Drive or Dropbox, you can access your files from anywhere and will have a backup if your computer crashes. Just like on a desktop or laptop computer, you should organize your cloud-based files with one folder for each class.
Find a good online calendar that you can access via both your computer and your phone. Free choices such as Google Calendar, Zoho Calendar and 30 Boxes are all simple but powerful. Once you decide upon an online calendar, stick to it for the semester – if you use multiple calendars, an important assignment may fall through the cracks.
Speaking of due dates, be sure to add these to your online calendar on the day you receive your syllabus. It’s easy to put this off, but this is something you should do on the first day of class. As you enter each deadline, set reminders to keep yourself on track.
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