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Managing Workload in a Summer Online Course

A few of you have mentioned this is your first online course. It might also be your first summer course, so I want to give you some advice. I’ve been teaching online for more than a decade, and I can tell you the most common reason that students struggle (when they struggle) is because they fail to manage their time well.

If this was a traditional class, we’d be meeting 75 minutes a day Monday-Friday. In addition, you would be doing somewhere around 10-12 hours a week of work outside class. In the case of an English class like this one, most of that time is spent reading and writing.

So here is how I would plan for this course. You don’t have to come to the site everyday, but I would plan to be here at least three days a week. You should expect to spend six hours a week reading and writing posts. This is the equivalent of our in-class time. Then, of course, you’ll also spend time doing the class readings and later the other, more formal assignments for the course.

Hopefully you’ve already read the syllabus and have some sense of the grading contract. Basically choosing the B or A contracts means putting more time and work into the course. So you can decide how you want to spend your time this summer. Maybe you are working full time this summer and don’t have as much time as you’d like to put into this class. I think there are perfectly legitimate reasons for picking the C contract if you want.

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About Alex Reid

Associate Professor and Director of Composition in the English Department at the University at Buffalo

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