What I learned about building your course schedule

By Ashley Wineland, Brand Ambassador. Online Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies student.

Ashley Wineland with a cowboy hat crouches in the grassPutting together your course schedule can seem daunting in so many ways.

  • What classes do I take?
  • What is my life like this semester?
  • What sort of time am I looking at to have for classes?

These are all very real and valid questions that you need to ask yourself when setting up your schedule for the upcoming semester.

With ASU Online, you have two options when scheduling your classes. You can have a standard full-semester-long style class, or you can take accelerated 7-8 week-long courses. Each of these styles has their benefits and pitfalls that you should take into consideration. However, first you need to understand the standard time requirement for the typical college course:

3 credit hours = 135 total hours of work

4 credit hours = 180 total hours of work

Now that we have that put into perspective, let’s jump into the class styles.

Full-Semester-Long Classes

These classes are the typical style that most are familiar with from high school. They run about 16-18 weeks long and cover all the class material over that time. The main benefits of this style is that the pacing is slower, due dates are more spread out, and there is more time to ask questions and work with your professor and classmates on the subject matter. The elongated spacing of this class type allows you to load up on multiple classes at a time without having to stress too much about heavy overlapping workloads. Those 135-180 hours becomes less demanding on a daily/weekly time commitment. This format can be a pitfall if you tend to lose focus easily or procrastinate. The distance between due dates or long periods spent on the same material can be demotivating for some and maybe lead to less-intense focus on the subject at hand. I would recommend this format for those who prefer to spend more time on subject matter, have limited time to study every day, and are wanting to take more than 1-2 classes per semester.

Accelerated Classes

The accelerated courses are 7-8 week-long bursts of information. They are separated per semester by session A and B. This class format takes all 135-180 hours per class and gives it to you all in a tight-to-the-point package. One of the biggest challenges of the format is the extra time commitment every week. For this style of learning, be expected to spend about 18-30 hours per class every week. This style is really great for people who want to take one class at a time (like yours truly here). Personally, I’ve found one class per session allows me to dedicate my full-time learning to just that class’s subject matter; it downloads better into my head while also allowing me to have a flexible working and social life. It’s also really good for those who have the time every week to really, fully dedicate themselves to their studies and get through their degree paths at an accelerated rate (hence the name).

Both of these class types have their perks and disadvantages depending on the person. I encourage you to experiment with what works best for you, and really take into consideration what your schedule/life looks like when you enroll in your classes. No need to add extra stress to your life. This is your education: customize it to enhance your success! 

We're so excited to share Ashley’s story! Ashley is a part of our #LearnASULive team, an ASU Online brand ambassador program highlighting students who are earning their degrees while living their lives to the fullest. If you enjoyed this, be sure to check back for new articles from Ashley so that you can follow along with her journey. To check out all her posts to date, visit Ashley’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Website.

Want to hear from our other ambassadors, too? Use the #LearnASULive hashtag across your favorite social channels to browse through them!  

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