5 Time Management Tips For Managing An Online Classroom

5 Time Management Tips For Managing An Online Classroom
Summary: What is the best way to manage time in the online classroom? With so many students and courses, how can online instructors effectively manage their time in order to be successful? Follow these 5 time management tips to ensure effectiveness in the online classroom.

How To Manage An Online Classroom: Time Management Tips 

Whether you are an adjunct instructor facilitating courses at multiple institutions or a full-time instructor with a heavy course load, time management in the online classroom can be daunting.  There are always discussions in which to read, review, and respond, there are always questions to answer and announcements to be made, and there are always assignments to be graded.  Whether you have twenty or two hundred students, here are 5 effective time management tips to effectively manage your online classroom.

  1. Develop a routine.
    A routine is integral in maintaining organization and motivation. Rather than simply relying on memory and the assumption that you will know what to do and when, determine a specific working routine that you will follow every day. For example, develop a routine to begin and end work at the same time each day. A routine will enable you to effectively utilize your time, as well as serve as a signal to students that you are not available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
  2. Make lists.
    Online instructors often teach more than one course, and perhaps at more than one institution. As a result, it is important to create to-do lists to ensure all tasks and requirements are completed on time.  These lists can be constructed daily, weekly, or monthly, and can be constructed using pen and paper, a whiteboard, or an electronic notepad. Adhering to a list provides structure, clarity, and focus.  Additionally, a list will assist with ensuring your time is productive and eliminate idle moments in which you are trying to remember which task needs to be completed next.
  3. Hold office hours.
    Instructors in the traditional brick and mortar setting hold office hours to carve out a specific time each day to assist students with questions or review feedback on assignments. Unfortunately, too often students assume online instructors are present 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a result, holding office hours, much like sticking to a specific routine, allows online instructors the freedom to direct student questions and concerns to a specific allotment of time. Rather than getting disrupted from posting or grading, office hours provide an uninterrupted window for direct student-teacher interaction.
  4. Determine order of importance.
    Online classrooms typically consist of discussions, assignments, and quizzes. As a result, there can be a lot of posts and assignments to sift through upon logging in each day. Therefore, it is important to determine which tasks need your attention first. For example, begin each day answering all student questions. After all student questions are answered, move on to reading and participating in the course discussions, and finally begin grading assignment submissions. Following a specific order of importance in the classroom will ensure all tasks are completed timely and efficiently.
  5. Save and reuse.
    Most online courses do not change between terms, so it is important to save previous announcements and supplemental posts. As long as the course material does not change, and as long as the announcements and posts are tailored to fit the new course, it will work in your favor to simply reuse what you have posted in previous courses. However, keep in mind, it will be important to ensure all links work, dates are correct, and additional details are added.