Here’s a nice piece by Jonathan Haber in the Huffington Post from last week with tips for managing your time and effort when taking a MOOC:

  • Put your classes on a fixed schedule. For example, I’ve recently scheduled my edX Greek Hero lectures for Monday afternoons and my Coursera Modernism and Post Modernism lectures for Thursday mornings (with my Udacity statistics classes spread out between the mid-days of Tuesday through Thursday). While you may not need to map your courses out on an hourly basis if you’re just managing 1-2 classes at a time, I highly recommend you at least assign each class to the day of the week where you know you’ll have the time to give course lectures your undivided attention.

  • That undivided attention I just mentioned means you need to add enough time into your watching/listening schedule to pause the video lectures in order to take notes, scroll back to clarify a point, or look something up that the teacher is referencing. This means that (1) if your class has an hour of video lecture assigned for the week, make sure you’re setting aside 1.5-2 hours to give this material the quality focus it deserves; and (2) DO NOT MULTITASK, meaning e-mail, Facebook and Twitter should be shut down (or at least inaccessible) while you spend the time on learning and learning alone.

  • Make sure you are building enough time into your weekly schedule to do all of the assigned reading and working on all of the homework, quizzes and other assigned materials to the best of your ability. Read more.

Of course if you find that you don’t have time in your life for a MOOC, you can always study OCW materials at you leisure—especially our OCW Scholar courses, self-paced resources designed for independent study.