Monthly Overview of Online Classes

My first step in managing my online classes was to create, at the start of each week, my Weekly Checklist for Online Classes. However, in addition to this, I needed a more long range planning tool. This is where my monthly overviews came in.

Really, what you create is a standard one-month-per-page calendar like most people have hanging over their desk. There are millions of templates on the web for free, for every month of every year. Just do a Google search for "free monthly calendar" to find a few options. You want it to fit on a 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, and you want big daily boxes. Sure if you find one with a pretty photo, and that will help to motivate you, why not :)

The key is NOT to jam this calendar with every tiny little task. Those detail levels are what your weekly planner is for. This monthly overview is only for the critical time-related tasks. It is to make sure you never miss one of those important deadlines.

Start by getting a set of colored pens. If you have three classes, using red, green, and black is a good idea. The colors are very distinct from each other. Four classes is harder - blue can look sort of like black. Try to find a light blue color in that case. It's critical that you can glance at your calendar and know what is what.

Write a little key at the bottom of your calendar. For example, write "English" in green. Write "Communications" in red. Whatever your course names are, write each one in a different color. That way you always remember which is which.

Then write in your main tasks. If you have an English paper due each Sunday, then write that task on your calendar. So in my case I write "Narrative" on 4/18, when my first narrative is due. then I write "Narrative 2" on 4/25, when the second one is due.

If part of your required task is forum posts, note those as well. My Communications class requires I make one post and two responses by each Wednesday. So on 4/14 I would write "Post + 2 Resp" in red.

By filling in this grid, I can glance at it on a given day and know exactly what is due - and scan the week to know what I should be planning for. It is the quick glance reminder, to supplement the full weekly listing.

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