I am currently taking 3 classes online over the summer, for a total of 7 credits. I have faced some struggles with them and I am here to share some tips that I have picked up over the 2 months that I have been taking these courses!
1. Work Ahead
The beauty of online summer classes lies in the fact that mostly all assignments are already uploaded for you, so you can know when they are due and can do them early. I like to check my assignment due dates and then begin working ahead in everything that I can. I know that some professors lock certain modules, but this is usually so that you complete the ones that come before it first. Since these classes are laid out like this, you should have no problem getting work done either ahead of time or at your own pace.
2. Always check your Canvas to-do list!
Summer days are great. If you don't have much to do, odds are you've gotten used to going about your day, not knowing what day of the week it is sometimes. This cannot happen when you are taking classes online for these months. You have to stay on top of due dates and project deadlines or else you are sure to miss some or get marked late on others. Check canvas as much as you possibly can to make sure you have nothing due that day. It can be easy to be on vacation and forget that one assignment your eyes glossed over a week ago.
3. Don't procrastinate!
I have done a lot of my work ahead of time because I've had small trips planned throughout the summer. I did this at first and things worked out well. One week, however, I got lazy and tried to complete a ton of work in the span of a day. I had a concert to go to the very next day and I knew I had to get things done quickly. That was the most stressful day ever. I was freaking out about getting my assignment in on time and making sure it was of good quality. That experience taught me to never procrastinate during the summer, because when you want to go out and actually enjoy your summer, you can't, so why not do the work when you're just laying in bed all day?
4. Ask questions
In my opinion, these classes are difficult to navigate at first. When you are home and cannot simply meet up with a classmate or go to office hours to talk to your professor, things can quickly become unclear. You may have many questions at the start of the semester and not know who to ask. I think it is best to post questions in the discussion forums Canvas has, or to email a classmate or professor directly. Yes, this method is less personal than being able to actually speak to a person, but it works nonetheless. It is important to voice your concerns early on so that you can have a smooth semester.
5. Do not take more credits than you can handle
I know that in Florida, you are required to take a minimum of 9 credits in the summer. 9 credits may not seem like a lot, compared to the 12-18 credits full time students take in the fall and spring, but this amount can be overwhelming for many in the summer months. Summer is a time for you to relax and disconnect from school for a while. If you are constantly stuck doing work, you won't enjoy it. Summer is also a time where many people get jobs, and having a job will take up a lot of your time. If on top of that, you have to worry about a ton of classes, you will most likely be stressed. Some people handle it just fine, but you should know what you are signing up for before committing. You do not want to overwork yourself, spend money, and mess up your GPA over a few credits that can be obtained later on. I am currently taking 7 credits and I am managing it pretty well, because they are not very rigorous courses, but I feel like even that amount would be difficult if they were higher level classes. Just know what your limits are and what you are comfortable with.
I hope everyone taking summer classes right now is doing well. I also hope these tips can help someone out. Remember to always do your best, but to know your limits!