In Online Learning, You’re Not Alone
Sitting at home and doing your coursework and looking over lectures online can seem isolating compared to sitting in a classroom surrounded by 25 of your peers. However, online learning is anything but isolated. With a simple click of a button, you can contact classmates and your instructor, and as many students have different schedules and live in different time zones, it is likely that you will find at least one other distance student online and available to chat anytime you log on.
Most online programs have message board systems to foster class discussions. You can easily read different threads to view different discussions. Joining in is easy as well, and you do not have to be comfortable with speaking in front of people to do so. Instead, all you have to do is type in your response and see what others have to say. Interacting with others online is a great way for those who are too shy to speak up during face-to-face classes to get their opinions and views heard.
Some online colleges also offer instant messaging and chat room options for their online students. This way, students can talk to one another just as if they were in a classroom together. You can discuss homework assignments, lecture topics, or even just talk about the latest blockbuster movie. Chances are you will also receive a list of your classmates’ contact information at the beginning of your class so that you can easily e-mail them if you need clarification about something.
Your instructor is always there as well to respond to your inquiries and to offer guidance and advice. Critics of online education claim that distance education does not offer the same amount of interactivity as traditional classroom education, but that is simply not true. Online instructors respond to student questions quickly and are happy to explain concepts and assignments. They check their messages daily to ensure that every student is happy, and regularly check in with students to ensure that they are performing well and understanding the course materials.
Online education does not have to be an isolating thing. You can easily connect with your fellow classmates and with your instructor to make your learning experience more fruitful. As it is typically easier to learn when you are studying with others, many online programs encourage students to connect with one another and form online study groups through Skype or another instant-chat option.