The summer term for online students at Biola is now underway! As you prepare to begin your courses, take a look at these few tips for success.

1. Prepare your course materials.

Ensure your computer and WiFi connection are reliable so you are prepared to start your course. Identify places in your home or office where you will have access to both of these on a consistent basis. Keep in mind that some courses require specialized software. Biola has course-related software available for students to download, so check this resource before purchasing software on your own.

It is also important to purchase required books in a timely manner so that you have access to them the moment your course begins. It is easy to fall behind without appropriate course materials, especially in seven-week courses.

Computer on desk

2. Set aside a study space.

Have a consistent workspace in a comfortable environment to complete your assignments. This can lead to increased productivity and lower stress. For more details and ideas on creating your study space, this article outlines why and how to set one up.

3. Review your syllabus

Each syllabus contains important dates and deadlines for assignments – this might be the most important information in your syllabus! It can be helpful to mark all due dates on a calendar to create an overview of your semester workload. This will be a point of reference for when to start assignments. This will help prevent assignments from sneaking up on you. Check out this article for more helpful tips for reading your syllabus.

Planner laying flat on a desk

4. Create a schedule and “show up” to class

Although online courses are flexible, you still have to “show up.” Set aside small 30-minute to one hour segments of time to sit down and work on your course. Depending on the type of course, you may need to refine your schedule as needed.

A sample schedule may look like this:

  • Monday: Look at overview of module. Begin required readings and multimedia.
  • Tuesday: Continue reading and begin assignments
  • Wednesday: Continue reading and working on assignments
  • Thursday: Begin submitting assignments
  • Friday: Read and continue working on assignments.
  • Saturday: Read and respond to posts and finish assignments.
  • Sunday: Rest

Personally, as a graduate student at Biola’s Cook School of Intercultural Studies, I try to schedule a sabbath during my week. While it takes effort and work to make that happen, it allows me to recharge. Planning out your week will allow you to get into a routine and be intentional about the work you are doing.

Cristal Carillo is a Success Coach for Online & Graduate Student Success