As a graduate student it is evident that by being able to further your education this far you have acquired enough time management skills to be successful. I am not going to write about different practices I am sure you have found that have already helped you in your academic careers; with that being said the time management skills you have used probably need to be adjusted to work in an 8 week course.
First thing to know about these courses is 8 weeks moves by faster than you think, even if you think it’s a short period of time, it will be shorter than that I promise! One nice feature of Engage is that the courses become available to access just before the start date and you will be able to look at the syllabus and assignments before you begin. Instead of just looking at the due date of assignments I urge you to really look at the assignment and write down a start date. For example, if Week 6 has a written assignment that seems like it is going to take you more than what you set time out for each week make a note to start that assignment during Week 5.
With some courses it might be easier to start with Week 8 and schedule yourself backwards. Do not forget to look at your own personal calendar as well. Be sure to take into account a busy week at work or a weekend filled with family obligations. An academic schedule could look great in theory but when matched with the rest of your life it could be a disaster. Try to schedule most of your academic time during the first half of the week so if life suddenly gets crazy as we all know it can, than there is plenty of what I like to call “cushion time” to catch up if needed. Do not fall into the bad habit of using that cushion time though! Keep it for emergencies only!
Every two weeks you complete another quarter of the course. In traditional courses at each quarter point there is usually and exam or a comprehensive assignment that clearly shows if you are keeping up academically. In the 8 week courses this bench mark is every two weeks where the evaluation needs to be done by oneself. You should take a good reflection every two weeks and ask; am I staying on top of all my assignments? Do I need to be putting in more effort? Is the time I have set aside each week the appropriate amount of time? It seems repetitive to do every two weeks but this is just one of the adjustments that has to be made for you to excel in an 8 week course.
The last piece of advice for time management is not to manage your time alone. Let your family know when you plan on doing school work, let your coworkers know you are in class and that’s why you don’t linger around after work or join them for drinks as often.
If you find yourself falling behind or becoming overwhelmed, reach out to your professor. Everyone picks Anna Maria for different reasons. A few of my reasons were the small class sizes and the involvement of professors. Take advantage of these things and explain to your professor what’s going on and more often than not they are accommodating and/or insightful into how to get back on track and be successful.