Onward with AP in Spite of the Polar Vortex

The Iowa Online Advanced Placement (APTM) Academy allows Iowa students to take APTM classes online. The Iowa Online AP Academy is especially meant for rural schools that do not have the resources to support APTM classes. Educators can learn more here.

Alas, the bitter cold has returned. With the plummeting wind chill comes school closures—and unstructured time for students. However, regardless of whether Iowa schools extend the academic year into July, APTM students must take exams the weeks of May 5th and May 12th. What steps can online APTM students stranded at home take to avoid falling behind?

Accept the test dates as set in stone. With a few exceptions, APTM exams are generally not rescheduled. Cross your fingers all you like, but wishful thinking will not change this.

Create a schedule with short- and long-term goals. Given the flexibility of online courses, students benefit from the use of schedules, a topic we have discussed previously, particularly to reach completion of short- and long-term goals. For some students, this is as simple as following the syllabus each week. For others, it may help to break down assignments further and to set specific hours aside each week for each course assignment. These schedules should be followed as closely as possible to avoid overwhelmingly busy weeks later in the term.

If you have Internet access at home, continue to make progress in your courses. Yes, school is closed, and your friends may be taking it easy. However, remember the challenge you gave to yourself when you signed up for APTM or other honors courses. The grit needed to accomplish larger goals requires that you maintain goal-directedness, motivation, and self-control every week. If you have access to your coursework, continue to make progress on assignments and lectures. Watching daytime television and scrolling through Reddit will lose its appeal relatively quickly anyway.

Keep in touch with classmates during strings of snow days. Form a group with classmates, and share your short- and long-term goals for the semester. Encourage one another toward goals. Taking an online course can be an isolating experience, but having a peer group to hold you to the expectations you set for yourself will motivate you to push ahead.

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