So you’re suddenly taking classes online (either by choice or public health requirements) and find yourself as emotionally fulfilled as a seafaring coconut. Here are some tips for staying social an engaging with your peers.
1. Engage in the forums.
The forums are there for a reason. Don’t be the student who leaves a discussion post three minutes before the deadline and hacks out the incredibly helpful “I like your words” responses to other students as his required feedback. Your written assignments are no longer for your teacher alone, but also for your peers’ edification. Taking the time to leave thoughtful feedback with other students fosters interesting discussion. And instead of getting annoyed at that last-minute ‘critique’ someone left on your post, take the time to practice some diplomacy.
2. Schedule virtual hang-outs.
Chatting in the non-assignment forums can gauge interest in forming study groups and hang-out sessions outside of the classroom. Yay for technology – you can now host sessions online to work through tricky homework problems together, socialize after midterms, or even provide the class procrastinators with some appreciated accountability by studying together (yes, I have friends who have done this.)
Furthermore, you don’t have to stick with the students in your class alone. Maybe your friends are taking online classes too, or you otherwise form a club of sorts. Even if you’re taking different classes, meeting up virtually to swap study tips and commiserate with each other on the distractions of life can be super encouraging.
3. Connect with real-life friends.
Guess what? The fact that you are studying online means your schedule is whatever you make of it. Sure, coronavirus might stop you for now. But under less unusual circumstances? You are free to stop mid-day for a lunch. Or a hike. Or whatever else it is you do to connect. Before you scold me for advising you to mess around during school hours, recall that some well-deserved down-time actually boosts your productivity. And while everyone is still stuck in isolation, there’s no harm in going old-school and giving a friend a call for a quick chat.
With a few proactive steps you can enjoy and make the most of your online college experience. Happy learning & stay healthy everyone!