by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 10/16/15.
It began about two decades ago, when a new friend (Russ Gunsalus) and I were trained to teach online IWU courses. And over that time the most important lesson I’ve learned has been to pace yourself.
If you are an online student you may initially get overwhelmed at the many postings and comments that keep appearing on the online interface. But, don’t get overwhelmed. No one is expecting you to respond to all postings. Rather, as professors we are looking to see that you understand the concepts we are studying, and that you are helping each other apply them to your unique situation.
Thus, don’t try to comment on everything other students say. But rather, add to the conversation with good ideas, further insights, or germane experiences.
Also, here is a typical schedule I see many students utilizing (you don’t have to use this if it does not work for you, but I have found it very beneficial to take two days off each week 🙂
Friday: read material, answer one question in each forum from the downloadable syllabus.
Monday: Read other posts and reply (bringing in 2-3 textbooks and 3-5 outside sources per forum for maximum points).
Tuesday: Read other posts and reply, begin working on your paper that is due Thursday at midnight.
Wednesday: Less posting and more writing on your paper.
Thursday: Very little posting and mostly working on the paper that is due at midnight
Friday: start again.
I’ve used this schedule and I find it very helpful. In fact in the decades I’ve been teaching online I’ve discovered that I am a better teacher if I take off Saturday and Sunday to recharge (and that is also when I conduct a lot of my research). Thus, I will not be online on Saturdays and Sundays … but will be back with you Monday morning. If there is an emergency you can always email me on the weekend and I will respond. But if not, just know that I will connect with you again on Monday.
And, very soon you too will get into the rhythm of online education and what works best for you (just like you did in college). Though you are in graduate school now, you will soon find that navigating this online interface will be easier, you will know how to organize your online comments/schedule and you will be whisked away to more fruitful ministry in the company of some very good online friends