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.