Education

How online students can form friendships and work together effectively

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Working at home gives you the freedom to study and improve your career prospects, but it does present a few unique challenges. You won’t be able to meet up with your fellow students regularly and you’ll need to put in plenty of study hours in front of your PC. Nevertheless, there are ways to keep yourself active when studying at home and stay connected to your fellow students. At first, it may feel tricky, but you’ll soon find you can form friendships and work together as effectively as you would in a more traditional learning environment.

Organize virtual study sessions together

From Zoom to Facetime and Google Hangouts, there are lots of platforms that can be used to facilitate a virtual discussion group. You can get to know each other better at these more relaxed events, but you’ll also learn about each other’s experiences and hear differing viewpoints. Bear in mind that whether you are working towards an arts qualification or a DNP degree, everyone on the course will have an individual perspective. At Wilkes, the potential for students to learn from each other, as well as their tutors, is celebrated. As part of a rigorous program of online education, students take part in clinical placements together, while a dedicated student success advisor will nurture your personal talents.

Be responsive

Although you may feel a little shy at first, introducing yourself to the group is a great way of breaking the ice. This can often be done on a forum or a discussion board. Take the time to respond to other people’s introductory posts as well, so they feel comfortable chatting with you in future and welcome to the group. You’ll likely create lasting friendships with some of these people, so give yourself every opportunity to be noticed.

Join in with the discussion

Most course providers will have a forum where students can contribute their opinions on a given topic. These are excellent places to bounce ideas off of one another and gain a more comprehensive understanding of your subject. You can start a conversation or respond to posts from other people if you prefer, either way, you’ll benefit from being part of the debate.

Find each other on Social Media

In a traditional classroom, the majority of people will choose to link up on social media and there’s no reason why you can’t do so when studying online. As a courtesy, it’s always best to ask people how they feel about becoming friends on Facebook or following each other on Twitter, before sending a request. People you already know well in the virtual classroom will probably be happy to accept. Having a way of communicating outside of the classroom can help to strengthen your bonds and make the experience more fun.

Like any other form of academic study, online courses can be daunting in the early stages. Making friends and working together are additional challenges, but remember you are all in the same position so draw on the group for support.

Trey Rory
the authorTrey Rory