Time Management

Tips for Managing Time Efficiently when Teaching Online

Tip 1 Schedule dedicated blocks of time each week for your online course, working at times when you can be most focused without distractions.
Tip 2 Manage your email efficiently by checking for messages at set points during the day, flagging and prioritizing emails. Establish student email guidelines (e.g. include the course name and number in the subject line when emailing you).
Tip 3Work smarter, not harder, at grading. Use rubrics, space out assignments, and set due dates that allow for prompt turnaround time for grading.
Tip 4Establish a consistent routine for your online course, and communicate it to your students. Use the syllabus to inform students of online office hours and to establish expected turnaround times for email responses and graded work.

Using Technology and Tools to Create Efficiencies
Blackboard includes features that can help you manage your online course more efficiently. These include:

  • Calendar
  • Rubrics
  • Online Quizzing/Exams
  • Announcements
  • Email

Please visit Refreshing your Blackboard Skills to learn more.

Best Practices from Mason's Online Faculty

How do you approach time management in your online course?

Budget Time and Use Blackboard Tools

Teaching online takes time. I find that I must budget twice as much time for an online class than a face-to-face course. I dedicate specific times and days of the week where I focus singularly on updating my modules, creating new materials, grading, and posting announcements.
Using the Blackboard Rubrics Tool and linking rubrics to the Grade Book makes the evaluation of assignments less time-consuming.

- Prof. David Miller, Instructor, Communications (CHSS)

Set Times to Check Discussion Boards and Post Regular Announcements

I set a specific date for when discussion board posts and follow-up posts should be submitted. For example, initial posts are due Thursday and follow-up responses are due Sunday. That way, I know when to check participation on the discussion boards, rather than doing it intermittently throughout the week.
I create a "Sunday Announcement" each week that summarizes the upcoming lesson objectives, highlights the lesson activities and includes homework and upcoming assignments or projects. While it takes about 30 minutes to create each announcement, it has saved me a lot of time on the back end. Students no longer email me with questions about what to do - or what is due - during the week.

- Dr. Anne-Marie Balzano, Assistant Professor, Education Leadership (CEHD)

Try High-Impact Grading

I use high impact grading for short assignments: O points if incomplete or not submitted; 1 point if complete but with significant errors; 2 points if complete and mostly correct; and, rarely, 3 points for outstanding work. After the due date, I write l-2 sentences for each student and point them to a 'model' response that I post.
The advantage for me is that it keeps me from overly detailed grading of short, low stakes assignments, while still giving students a chance to learn from their mistakes.

- Prof. Rebecca Ericson, Instructor, Physics and Astronomy (COS)

Additional Resources