Five Tips for Managing Your Time in a VirtualSC Course

Student Studying

In the spring semester of 2016, I made the bold choice to put myself in the shoes of a VirtualSC student and take a course online, through our program. I didn’t know it at the time, but the experience would open my eyes to the unique challenges that high school students may face when learning online. I was working full time and juggling several family obligations; a similar situation that some of our students encounter. I completed the course successfully, but when I reflect on it today, I realize that one of the reasons I made it to the finish line both on time and with a grade I was proud of, was effective time management.

Whether or not you have taken an online course before, learning to adapt to the learning environment can be quite the transition. Especially in terms of managing your time without a teacher at the front of the classroom reminding you of the deadline for an assignment, or an upcoming quiz or test.

Learning to manage your time in the most efficient way will not only help you to be more successful in your VirtualSC course, but it is an important lifelong skill that you will rely upon for years to come. From one online learner to another, here are my top five tips for making the best of your time in an online course:

1. Prepare by completing the Student Orientation ahead of time. VirtualSC’s new Student Orientation course is accessible to students before their VSC course begins. You will walk through several general things you will need to know during the course; accessing your grade, locating your teacher’s contact information, etc. VirtualSC recommends that students access the Student Orientation before the course begins so that you will be as prepared as possible on Day 1. (link instructions to accessing the orientation).

2. Organize your Calendar. On the first day of your class, visit the course’s intro unit and download the Course Pacing Guide. This guide will give you the entire list of dates and deadlines for every assignment from the start of the course to the final exam.

Once you have your pacing guide in hand, use a calendar of your choice (planner, wall calendar, Google Calendar, etc) to plan your time as far ahead as possible.

Next, add to the calendar the activities that may get in the way of your ability to work in the online class. These will be things like sports, family activities, events, etc. Then, review your pacing guide and mark the course dates and deadlines on the calendar as well. Finally, schedule times to work on your course so that you can meet the dates and deadlines.

It may look something like this:

There is a great template for this in the Plan for Success, located in the VirtualSC Student Orientation course!3. Get ahead and use your time wisely. Say, for example, you have scheduled time on your calendar to complete a required reading assignment on Sunday from 4-6PM. If you finish the reading at 5PM, don’t close your course! You have already scheduled yourself to work in the course for two hours, and there is no better time to get a head start on the next assignment. An extra hour to work ahead, review a challenging topic and/or submit assignments ahead of the deadline could help tremendously if something last minute comes up later in the week.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
4-6PM – Work in VSC course at home. 10-11AM Work on VSC course in computer lab.



Assignment 1.1 Due


10-11AM Work on VSC course in computer lab.


4PM – Soccer

10-11AM Work on VSC course in computer lab.


Assignment 1.2 Due


10-11AM Work on VSC course in computer lab.


10-11AM Work on VSC course in computer lab.


7PM -Family Night

7PM – Concert

4. If you fall behind a little one day, don’t panic! Sometimes things come up, like an assembly that prevents you from visiting the computer lab on the day an assignment is due, or your soccer practice runs long one day and you miss the reading you’ve scheduled yourself to read. The key to being efficient in these situations is to pick right back up the next day.

If you find that you’ve missed the deadline for an assignment, the first thing to do is remain calm. Contact your VirtualSC teacher and explain the situation, and notify them that you will submit the late assignment by an agreed-upon deadline (likely, the next day). Just don’t forget to pick back up on your regular schedule of coursework and to continue to remain on pace, or ahead. Situations like this are a great reason to work ahead of the course pacing guide, if you can.

5. Ask for help!

    Do not be afraid to ask for help or advice in managing your course from your VSC teacher, your School Counselor or the VirtualSC Student Services team. VirtualSC teachers can give great advice for the best ways to accomplish your goal of successfully completing your course. I can recall needing additional assistance with the rubric for a project in the course I took in 2016. Rather than remaining confused and submitting the assignment incorrectly, I reached out to the teacher who was able to provide feedback that ultimately helped me work through the submission quickly.

If you are experiencing technical difficulty, outside your VSC teacher’s office hours, do not hesitate to contact the Student Services team, who can assist in troubleshooting. They can even do things like resetting your password.

In addition, make sure you check your Dashboard messages daily to ensure you are up to date on course happenings or your progress. VSC teachers will also sometimes include advice or tips in their messages, on upcoming assignments or quizzes, that will help you work through them for the best grade possible. If you have questions about due dates or grading, don’t wait until tomorrow to message your teacher in the Dashboard, go ahead and get the message sent right away!

The virtual learning environment may be different from the traditional brick-and-mortar environment, but with a little preparation, organization and effective time management you’ll be on the path to success!


Sarah Rotureau

Student Services Manager | VirtualSC

The Help desk for VirtualSC.

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