My first online class I ever took was during the summer of my junior year in high school. I did phenomenal in the class (in my own personal standards, to any other person I did the bare minimum), but I knew that online classes for me would take more effort than the average person--especially in college.
The next time I dabbled with online classes was in the summer going into my third year of college. I tried to take two online courses. They were both survey of literature classes, and they were at different universities--one was an eight-week course, the other was a four week.
I thought it would be easy, I thought it would be read this story and write a discussion post about it. And it was, kind of.
My course through my local community college was the eight-week course, and it was the wackiest class I've ever taken.
Discussion posts and two replies to classmates' posts were due by Friday at noon, BUT he told us to not do our post Friday morning or Thursday night because no one will get to look at our posts and reply, so we better get ours on Wednesday the latest; he would dock points if you wrote your posts Friday at 10:00 am, even though it was technically late, he docked points because he thought you were procrastinating.
Working basically full-time at my summer job made it nearly impossible to do this class and it's wack posting schedule. I ended up having to drop it because I did poor on the midterm, which was due to the fact that I felt dis-encouraged to do the assignments if they were going to end up "late."
My other class that summer was a lot more laid back. I did my readings when I could and every Friday morning before I left for my shift at work I turned in my discussion posts and replied to others.
Those four weeks I developed a great way to attack online classes and get the most of them. And while I know this way for studying for online classes is effective, I still procrastinate and got behind in the one I am in this semester.
The main goal you should establish when starting an online class is finding and dedicating a day or afternoon to that course. Just like a sit down class, going somewhere to only work on that course for two hours is a lot more effective than looking at the Blackboard at 11:00 pm in bed with Netflix on in the background.
I try to find time after my sit down classes to work on it while I'm still on campus and am feeling that studious energy around me.
If you're taking the course over the summer or are a part-time student, the same applies.
I would take off Tuesdays from my job and would go to the library--or I did a local coffee shop tour, every week I went to a brand new coffee shop in Kansas City that I hadn't been to before and did my work there--and stay there till at least half of my work for the week was finished.
I found it easier to find a day or time to do all my online course work at once instead of trying to split it up every day of the week. And that's because every week is different. Some weeks might have a 40 page article to read, but others might be more chill and have two 15 page documents to read--which is easier to break up.
Something I'm trying my best to do this semester is finding a time to meet up with a classmate in my online course and work on the class together at the same time. This way, I'm not being subjective to the readings and only listening to my own interpretation, and I can discuss it with someone else before doing the assignment.
Finding someone in your online class to meet up with is also extremely helpful if you get stuck on anything and need to tackle it with someone else.
There's nothing worse than being stuck doing an assignment online and you don't have anyone to reach out to, or you're patiently waiting for your professor to email you back--even then, the professor may not help you the way you wish they would because, "you're supposed to form your own thoughts and opinions and discuss them openly online to the class."
My third recommendation is if you do want to split up tasks and assignments throughout the entire week, make a list of what you want to get accomplished every day that week.
If you have to read 40 pages and write a discussion post by Friday, have your list detailed by day of the week with bullet points underneath the day, and cross it off when you finish it so it doesn't seem overwhelming, for example:
Read 10 pages Pick out discussion topic
Find quotes in text
Write a discussion post
Respond to two others
Online classes are hard. They require extra effort because a lot of professors see it as a class you can do at home anytime and often forget that students--especially non-traditional--have lives outside of college and give more workload than a sit-down class would. People always think an online class is something you can do for 30 minutes when it takes a good night by itself.
Just remember to sit down, breathe, and cross it off your syllabus.