# 4.1: Use your course presentations to understand the shape of your semester

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Online courses often provide you with a great deal of flexibility in organizing your time. This can be a tremendous asset, particularly if you are balancing study with work, family, or other commitments. However, this also requires you to accurately determine how much work you must complete over the semester, and to develop a plan that allows you to complete this work effectively.

Many students find it helpful to develop a semester schedule that provides an “overview at a glance” of what will be required. You will find the information you need for this in your course presentations.

The following video will help you to better understand how to read your course presentation and how to plan for the semester ahead.

**Video Transcript: Creating a Semester Schedule**

Creating a master schedule for your whole semester can help you to see the big picture and to stay on track. In this video, you will learn how to compile the information from your course presentations into one master schedule that will allow you to see your semester at a glance.

Here are 3 STEPS you can take to use your course presentations to create a semester schedule.

Step 1: Create a table with 7 columns, one column for each day of the week, and with one rows for each week of the semester. Label the days, Monday, Tuesday, and all the way along, across the top of the table. Then label the weeks, across the side of the table. At this point you can also add specific dates for each week of the semester. You can download a ready-made semester schedule by clicking in the description of this video.

Step 2: Next, gather up all of your course presentations for the semester. You should have one for each course you are taking, which includes details about the weekly schedule and readings, assignment due dates, and exams. If you have a part time job, and know your schedule, and if you have family commitments which have a regular schedule, gather up these schedules as well.

Step 3: Now, go through the course presentation looking for important details and commitments that will take place in Week 1 of the semester. This could include required course readings, homework and assignments. On your semester schedule table, find the day of the week these commitments need to be completed by and write them down. Make sure to include the course name, the details of the commitment, and what it is worth if it is a graded assignment. Now keep working through your course presentation, through each week of the semester. Keep following these same steps for each of your courses, until you have completed your schedule.

Now, add important life events to your semester schedule – this might include work events, family events, trips and special occasions.

In summary, once you have completed these 3 steps using your course presentations to create a semester schedule, you will now have a central and easily accessible schedule that includes all of your commitments, in one place. You won’t have to go searching through piles of paper, or back online through the course website, to remember what you have to get done each week. As well, being able to see, in one place, what your commitments are today, this week, and in the upcoming weeks, can help you organize your time in the most efficient way possible.