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5 time management tips for online students

Try these tactics to help you succeed in OSU Ecampus classes

By Tyler Hansen
Sept. 17, 2021

Few things in life are as promise-filled as the start of a new school year. To make the most of your journey as an online student with Oregon State University Ecampus, you’ll need to start by maximizing what matters most.

Your time.

Of course, that’s easier said than done when a dozen things are competing for your attention — from job duties and family life to food cravings and Netflix shows.

The key, according to our expert team of instructional designers and student success coaches at Oregon State Ecampus, is mastering the art of time management. The good news for you is that our staff has many years of experience in devising the best short-term and long-term strategies that lead to real-life academic success.

“One of the most challenging yet rewarding parts about learning online is learning time management practices to succeed in an online environment,” said Andrea Fuchs, a 2019 fisheries and wildlife sciences graduate. “I know these skills will help me in my career path and even in my personal life. I’m a much stronger person because of online learning.”

So let’s get to it: Here are some tried-and-true tactics for you to test for yourself this school year.

1. Set aside recurring time to study, and stick to it

We strongly recommend that you find dedicated time each week for studying, completing course activities and engaging with your course, including having discussions with your classmates and instructors.

One way you can achieve this is to set up time blocks on your calendar to work on specific coursework or assignments.

2. Think big, but work small

It’s always important to understand the full scope of a project, but it’s easy to become overwhelmed if you focus too much on the bigger picture. With that in mind, break down large tasks into bite-size chunks, and plan your highest priorities for the week.

Oregon State’s Academic Success Center has a tool you can customize called Breaking Down My Week. This enables you to pace yourself over several days rather than trying to complete a week’s worth of work in one night.

3. Face and embrace your fear

We get it: Some assignments can feel intimidating. That comes with the territory of challenging yourself academically. When you openly acknowledge your fear of starting a task, it will help you get over the procrastination. And then when you put in the hours and effort, results will come.

4. Use a timer to help you focus — and take breaks

The Pomodoro Technique is a trusty way to keep you focused on two important things: doing the work and giving yourself much-needed mental breaks.

Here’s how it works: Write out the tasks you’re trying to tackle as to-do items. Start the 25-minute timer to concentrate on each class activity, then take a five-minute break. After your fourth 25-minute chunk, take a 15-minute break instead.

Set the process on a loop for however long you’d like, and watch those to-dos get checked off.

5. Lean on Canvas as a go-to resource

As an OSU Ecampus student, you access your coursework through Canvas, OSU’s online learning portal and a valuable time management resource you need in your toolbox.

Refer to the syllabus in your Canvas course site to view due dates on all assignments and discussions. The calendar feature is also customizable, allowing you to view tasks in a monthly, weekly or agenda formats, add other items and color code them yourself.


Helping you hone your time management skills is one of many resources we provide to Ecampus students. Be sure to check back regularly for more study tips and tricks. And take a look at our other services to give yourself the best chance to succeed online.

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