Set a Consistent Schedule

Every aspect of a college student’s life is in flux right now. All the familiar routines they are used to are changing because of COVID-19. One of the best things you can do is provide these students with a consistent schedule that they can rely on.

Why do these routines matter so much? There’s no way for a student to know when you will post something online. In the campus classroom, you probably hand out or share assignments, pass back or post graded work, and so forth. When classes move online, students no longer know when to expect these things to happen. Either students leave it to chance, hoping that they will notice when you post something or when work is due, or they spend every moment online refreshing class resources in an attempt to catch updates the moment they are posted. Neither of these options is ideal—and both can lead to a great deal of anxiety and stress.

If you establish a regular schedule however, students know exactly what is supposed to happen when. I established a weekly schedule for the classes I teach entirely online, which I share using an inforgraphic similar to the one below:

Weekly Course Schedule, explained in the accompanying text

Because the schedule is an image, I provide a transcript as well, publishing the details from the image beside it. As you move to migrate your course online quickly, a table with the details will work just fine. Students will care about having the details more than how pretty the schedule is.

For your schedule, include as many days and as much information as necessary. For instance, if your course was meeting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, just include those days on your schedule. If your course runs on two-week units, go ahead and include two weeks in your schedule.

Keep in mind that this schedule is not a substitute for the class calendar. Its job is simply to outline the repeating structures that students can rely on each week. It’s a simple piece to add to the resources you share, but establishing consistency in this way can help students stay on try, especially at a time when COVID-19 seems to be disrupting everyone’s schedule.


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This post originally published on the Teaching Online 911 blog.

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