Nov 7, 2017 at 9:40am ET By Alyssa Walker

If you’re an online student then you already know: you need to be more organized than you would in a traditional classroom. Why? In addition to organizing your workflow, you need to be able to organize when you study, where you study, and determine the tools you need when you need them.

Here’s how to master organization when you study online:

1. Make sure you have a dedicated study space

Even though online education is flexible, having a designated study space that is free of distractions and background noise is necessary for your success.

What makes a great study space? It’s uncluttered, has a reliable power source, a strong internet connection, and allows you the physical space you need.  It should lack temptations like television or your phone, and shouldn’t be a place where you regularly sleep.

If you live with family or roommates, make sure you’re out of the way and that others know where your dedicated study space is.

Keep all of your course materials near your study space. If you don’t have a desk or a cabinet, buy an inexpensive folder and keep it in the same place.

Another key to success? Get a notebook—a real one—and take notes on your course.

Keep your study area well-organized and tidy—and enjoy the benefits of online learning.

2. Print the syllabus and calendar

Think you don’t need to print anything in an online course? Think again. Technology fails sometimes. Servers go down. Power outages happen. By having paper copies of what’s due and when, there’s never a reason for you to fall behind—even if the class is unavailable online, or you can’t access it.

Remember: online classes move quickly. Printing a few pages to keep you on track may be the key to your success.

3. Schedule study time

Now that you’re organized with a study space, syllabus, and calendar, make a study schedule and stick to it.

Put your study time on your calendar and stick to it. The only thing that should change that schedule? Your safety or someone else’s.

Don’t put it off—you’ll thank yourself as you stay on task and succeed in your course.

4. Use technology

We’ve told you about great apps to help you organize your life—take a look at some apps to help you organize your studying.  

Discipline is the key to your success. Need an online study planner? Try iStudiezPro, which you can use to keep track of your schedule, homework, and grades. Want to make flashcards? Try Cram or Quizlet. If you’re looking for an online storage system, consider using Google Drive or Dropbox.

The list is practically endless—know that whatever organizational piece you’re looking to improve, there’s probably an app. All it takes is a little bit of research to find.

5. Think and act ahead of schedule

Remember that syllabus and calendar you printed (see #2)? Plan on working one or two days ahead of schedule. Apply the same rules to your life—and stop making excuses.

You don’t need to work until the 11th hour. Give yourself a cushion of time so that when you do have a delay, there’s no need to panic.




Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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