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How to Get to Know Your Classmates in Online Courses

A girl taking notes on her bed

At the start, taking online classes can seem a bit alienating and even lonely. In reality, living in the age of technology means you'll never have to compromise social connections for the sake of convenience. Here's how to easily get to know your classmates while taking online courses.

Introduce Yourself Digitally

Many professors will create an online module or forum for students to have discussions. Take time at the beginning of the semester to introduce yourself, including personal details like interests, study habits, and the reason why you chose the course. Although it may feel intimidating at first, using the discussion board will become second nature as you get used to your program. For more tips, read our blog on how to make the most of online discussion boards.

Meet in Person

If you live in an area near the physical university campus, or if you are taking a combination of online and on-campus courses, suggest meeting up with fellow students to have a study session, spitball ideas for a project, or just get coffee. Putting a face to a name early on in the program will make it easier to retain connections, ask for help, and even network down the line.

Create a Social Media Group

Even for classes where online learning forums are available, it's likely students will be more comfortable communicating on social media. Consider making a group for the class on Facebook or another social media site, or even on a messaging app like GroupMe or WhatsApp. This way, students can discuss the class and share their off-topic interests in a more relaxed setting.

Why Connect at All?

First-time online students may see making connections with classmates as unnecessary work, but online veterans can vouch for the fact that a strong network of classmates can make or break your experience in a course. Not only can a network of peers work to remind you of important dates and meetings, but they can also be an invaluable sounding board for ideas and resource for study materials. They can even provide support when coursework becomes overwhelming. Additionally, connections made in one course could be a source of support for similar courses down the line or even in career development after graduating.

Online degree programs offer convenience and flexibility, but that doesn't mean they're lacking when it comes to making connections. At the Tulane School of Professional Advancement, we build networking and professional development into all of our courses, both online and on-campus. Explore our online degree programs and learn about our admission process.

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