1. Make a weekly schedule for course work, like viewing lectures, doing readings and studying. You can divide it into short chunks or longer blocks – whatever you like as long as it is enough time. Find a set-up that works for you and stick to it.
  2. Make a longer term plan. Check your deadlines, lecture schedule, readings and projects and plot out your term. You can tweak it as you go but start out with a vision for tackling the whole course. That way you keep track of what needs to be done and when. This is particularly important in summer when most courses are completed in half the usual time!
  3. Don’t try to do several things at once. Studies have shown that multitasking isn’t really a thing.
  4. Don’t forget to look after yourself and keep motivated. As you work through your course, give yourself breaks and rewards to help you stay on track.
  5. Sleep. It is so important in so many ways (see our story on why we need more sleep).
  6. Take good notes. This requires you to do more than transcribe the lecture. By putting information into your own words, you’ll develop a clearer picture of how class concepts fit together and you’ll gain a better understanding of the content. Also, listen for cues in the lectures that indicate an important topic that is likely to show up in assignments and exams.
  7. Go over your notes and other materials. If you can do this after every class, fantastic! It will help fix things in your mind. If not, study your material several days ahead of a test, in small chunks. Don’t cram – it just doesn’t work. If you want, try some review apps that might be helpful.
  8. Find a good space to study. Minimize distractions.
  9. Find a study group. This can be hard for online courses, but you can connect with people in discussion boards in cuLearn, or set up study groups in social media sites like Facebook, Skype or Hangouts. If some of you are in the same physical location, in-person is great too! Actively discussing material is a great way to expand on it, remember it and get new perspectives.
  10. Get help! Ask questions. Contact your instructor or TA. Reach out to other students online. Use campus resources (a lot of which are available in a virtual format).

For more articles, see CUOL’s story archive.