Personal interaction can be a bit more challenging in a digital classroom. Students log on at different times, assignments may not encourage collaboration and other priorities make networking just one more thing to do. Take time to connect with classmates for more enriching online experiences.
Online doesn’t mean alone. Network with peers to create dynamic discussions and foster friendships.
Engage in introductions
Instructors often encourage students to introduce themselves in an open discussion forum with their classmates. Take time to get to know your peers’ goals, interests and ideals, then write meaningful responses. Invest time in sharing your unique introduction and keep up correspondence and replies for ongoing conversations.
"Student-to-student interaction is vital to building community in an online environment, which supports productive and satisfying learning and helps students develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills."
- Mary Ann Kolloff, Author
After the introduction, keep up active communication in additional discussion posts assigned. Not only will it build interpersonal communication, writing and critical thinking skills, but it will also build relationships so you are confident when it comes time to select partners for group projects. Strong peer rapport makes students more likely to participate.
Reach out beyond discussion forums
Do you need clarity on an assignment and you feel a classmate has it figured out? Or did you read that one of your peers shares a unique hobby or interest? Reach out via email or network on social media. Making friends outside the classroom to chat with about school, goals and obstacles also makes the educational journey more enjoyable as you share each other’s obstacles and successes.