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Online Learning: Place and Time

Study Space

Create a space to study - it doesn’t have to be big, but it has to be dedicated.

Have at hands:

  • Module briefs
  • Daily and termly planner
  • Your learning materials (including books, e-books, online articles)
  • Sticky notes

Distance from yourself:

  • Distractions
  • Discourage personal intrusion during study time!

Manage your Time Effectively

While with studying online you may have more time at hands and you can be more flexible, this doesn't mean that you can put off your tasks indefinitely! Make sure you manage your time effectively, before realising that a deadline is night and you are not ready for it!

Tips for effective time management:

  • Identify your deadlines
  • Have a calendar, termly planner
  • Create a weekly independent study timetable, so you have a regular study routine
  • Set yourself daily tasks and (SMART) objectives
  • Write to-do lists

The following boxes present more details about these points. 

Plan your Time

Time is essential to prepare for exams and assignments. Manage your time as effectively as possible by visualising your deadlines and identifying the steps to fulfil your aims. 

Note: revision occurs in waves. It should be something like this:

  • Study the topic during term time (preparing for lectures and seminars, taking notes during lectures, annotating and reading after the lectures)
  • General revision
  • Revision during exam period
  • Last revision before the exam 

Here is an example of how to plan revision during the exam period.

Step 1: On your calendar mark when each exam will take place (also mark other commitments)‚Äč


Step 2: Identify time-slots you can dedicate to revision.

Make sure you split your time between all of the exams.



Step 3: Manage your time daily

  1. Write a revision checklist: gather all the topics you need to revise and make a list.
  2. Match the topics with the days that are available for revision. 
  3. In order to achieve your aims (meeting deadlines, succeeding in your coursework), set yourself daily SMART objectives: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. 
  • No: I'm going to study for two hours
  • Yes: From 9am to 11am I'm going to read, take notes and do the exercises of chapter 13 of Development Economics.
  1. You can divide all your day into time slots, or have a mix of time slots and flexible time 


  1. Make sure you have breaks. They help your health and concentration! You can also try the Pomodoro technique. See box below. 

Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals, so-called pomodoros (traditionally 25 minutes in length, but this can vary according to your concentration preferences), separated by short breaks. Focusing on tasks to be completed in a certain period of time helps you stay focussed and effective. The short breaks help you assimilate your learning, refresh, and provide an incentive to complete your tasks timely. After 3-4 pomodoros you earn a longer break (15-30 minutes).

Steps to use the pomodoro technique:

  1. Decide on the task to be done. This should be SMART task: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic. It will be automatically Timed, in the pomodoro.
  2. Set the pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
  3. Work on the task.
  4. End work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
  5. If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
  6. After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.

LinkedIn Learning Pomodoro technique video

The video below explains the Pomodoro technique and illustrates tools and apps to put it into practice.

Birmingham City University Pomodoro technique video

A shorter video on the Pomodoro technique by Birmingham City University

Time Management Videos

Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination means to postpone the completion of a task (from Latin pro-cras --> for-tomorrow). There are many reasons for procrastination, including distractions, lack of SMART objectives, and even perfectionism. Generally, procrastination undermines the achievement of your objectives. 



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