EdOptions Academy Virtual Courses: Tips for Students

Oct 26, 2023
Virtual courses tips Edmentum article

EdOptions Academy virtual 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.

Here are 13 of the most effective time management and productivity strategies our students use to achieve success in their EdOptions Academy courses.

1. Make a Schedule with a "To-Do" List Every Day

To stay on pace, students can expect to devote about 25 hours per week per course. A sample schedule for a course can look like this:

  • Read your syllabus, and set aside time each day to work on your online course(s).
  • Plan to work at least 50 minutes, five days a week per enrolled course.
  • Take a break every 20 minutes to stay efficient and alert.

The to-do list should be specific to each EdOptions Academy course that is taken.

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.

2. Attend Live Sessons and Check In Daily With The Instructor

Doing the online courses consistently throughout the week makes learning the content more manageable and helps to avoid procrastination.

EdOptions Academy virtual instructors
are also online on a consistent basis during the day and readily available to help you via email, instant message, text message, phone call, Google Hangouts, Zoom video conference, and a variety of other communication platforms. Don’t forget to also be responsive with the messages they send you.

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. Manage Interruptions and Distractions

When you’re enrolled in EdOptions Academy virtual courses, staying on pace needs to be a primary goal. During your study time, don’t browse online unless you are researching for the course. It’s also helpful to find a comfortable and organized space to work in.

More importantly, stick to your study schedule. 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 okay to say no.

Similarly, you may have to turn down occasional invitations from friends. Continue to 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 virtual 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 virtual 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. Set Goals and Make Incentives

Goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) as it provides a clear and structured framework for virtual learning success.

  • Specific goals help learners define what they want to achieve when taking a course.
  • Measurable goals allow for the tracking of progress, enabling students to stay motivated and celebrate learning milestones along the way.
  • Attainable goals ensure that learners set realistic targets, preventing them from becoming overwhelmed.
  • Relevant goals ensure that the objectives align with what is expected from the course.
  • Time-bound goals establish deadlines which encourage discipline, prevents procrastination, and helps learners manage their time effectively.

When you complete an assignment (discussion, activity, module, test, etc.) be sure to reward yourself. This can take the form of a treat, an enjoyable study break, or any other incentive that you find motivating. Doing so is a healthy way to acknowledge your efforts and hard work, which can lead to a fulfilling virtual learning experience. 

11. Don't Waste Time Agonizing

Have you ever wasted an entire evening 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, but 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.

Edmentum also has free teaching resources, including graphic organizers, which you can download and print.

Looking for more tips for success in EdOptions Academy virtual courses? These productivity hacks for virtual learning can be helpful for students who are new to taking online courses.

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