How to be successful in an 8 week course

By Taryn Kuczynski, August 2015

screen shot of Engage Learning SystemMany colleges offer a 16-week course semester, while Utica College offers a fast paced environment with their 8-week course terms. I enjoy the fast paced 8-week courses because I like to stay busy and see my accomplishments add up quickly. At Utica College, as an online Cybersecurity student, I am able to take two classes per 8-week term, which compares to four classes each traditional 16-week semester. Four classes all 16 weeks would be too much for my schedule as it would be for many others out there. Being able to focus on two classes each 8-week term allows for a job, family time, and still graduating at the same pace as any full time student. In a full 16 weeks the classes move slowly, yet you have four classes to juggle. In 8 weeks with two classes, the courses are much faster paced, because you are finishing them in half of the time. This can make some people uneasy that they may not be able to absorb the coursework. Time management plays a big role in the success of a fulltime student at Utica College.

Types of assignments

The coursework assigned each week may consist of a few chapters to read, one main discussion post followed by a minimum of two responses to classmates, and maybe a quiz, a paper, or a lab due at the end of each week. Some weeks this can be overwhelming, while others it slows down. The way that I am able to manage my time is by starting my discussion posts on Sunday evening or Monday. I get my first discussions in for each class to have them out of the way. By Tuesday, I usually have a response or two from other classmates, which allows me to think, research, and post on theirs or respond to their comments on my discussion posting. Meanwhile, I read my chapters and jot some notes down that could help with a quiz, lab or paper due at the end of the week. I try to start my assignments that are due at the end of the week by midweek to make sure I have given myself enough time to finish.

Use Engage to help you plan

Juggling just two classes at a time makes this type of work with my daily routine very manageable. Making a schedule and using the course calendar provided to you through our Engage learning system helps with time management as well. It tracks what you still need to turn in, study for, and allows you to move around things when life gets in the way. It not only makes you more aware of what is going on in your classes, it also holds you more accountable to get those things done in time. Lastly, for each subject it helps to prioritize your time and distribute your time wisely, so you can complete all required tasks by your weekly deadlines. Overall, a little bit of time management goes a long way.

About the Author

headshot image of student cybersecurity blogger Taryn KuczynskiTaryn Kuczynski is a senior (full time online student) at the School of Business and Justice Studies. She is a 33-year-old mother of two that had some speed bumps in her studies plan, but never gave up and is so close to the finish line. She is happily married to her best friend who is a Master's in Cybersecurity student at Utica. She loves to hang out with her family, work on cyber studies projects with her husband and his employers, plays tennis, loves to cook and enjoys photo editing. She has two labradoodles and a Bengal/ tabby mix that are her little babies too! After completing her Bachelor's Degree, she plans on working full time while continuing her education through the Master's program at Utica College.

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