Over the centuries, traditional classrooms have been proven as being an effective environment for learning. In a traditional setting, students are able to connect directly with their professor and fellow classmates. This classroom interaction allows for open discussions and debates on course topics, thereby creating an environment that are welcoming to learning and the sharing of knowledge. Online classes are lacking this interaction.
With the recent introduction of web-based classes, many students may not feel as confident in taking on college in such a hands-off forum. But there are ways for students to enrich and get the most out of their online experiences.
How can online students increase interaction?
When a student signs on to their online course, they are likely welcomed with an introductory statement from the professor and a detailed syllabus. Assignment descriptions, due dates and the contact information of their professor and classmates are also made available to registered students. Even with several technological options available for communication and interaction, students are not usually required to communicate with other students as part of course requirements.
Interacting with classmates online is easier than many students may perceive it to be. Most students would welcome interaction with fellow classmates. Neither complex web-based programs nor forums are needed for online students to connect and interact. A simple introduction email is, in most cases, enough to initiate a connection. It only takes willingness from one student to make the initial contact. Phone numbers, alternate emails and instant messenger user names can then be exchanged. With an open line of communication, students are able to discuss homework assignments, upcoming exams, term papers, etc.
Take advantage of opportunities to meet in person:
One of the advantages of taking classes online is the ability for students, with an internet connection, to complete course requirements from any location in the world. Unfortunately, this is also one of the disadvantages in that students are scattered throughout the world, leaving little room for in-person interaction. But there are usually cases where some students are located within the same vicinity.
When searching for students to connect with, it is a good idea to take notice of their location. This information is usually disclosed in the college's online directory.
Meeting in person can be beneficial when undertaking certain assignments. Often, online courses require students to complete special research projects. Working along on a major research assignment may be fine for many online students; but remember, academia should also involve the sharing of knowledge. Meeting available classmates at a neutral location once or twice for each project can increase productive, which may result in an enhanced educational experience.
When taking an online class, students have the option to view lecture notes and complete assignments during any hour of the day, within assigned deadlines. Students may take their exams in a park or even on the subway. With this level of autonomy, students should also expect to take on more responsibility for ensuring that they are getting the most out of their online classes.