Online learning has become increasingly popular in recent years, as our busy lives and flexible schedules require a more adaptable method of education. In 2020, in particular, online learning has taken the spotlight in ways that nobody expected, as COVID-19 causes schools to close and people to lose their jobs in huge numbers.
As online learning becomes the norm, its other benefits are amplified. Scheduling is ultra-flexible. Programs can be structured to add qualifications quickly. And online degrees are usually much more affordable than their in-person counterparts.
At first glance, it might seem like online education is missing the human element. Interacting with instructors and peers is a significant part of some people’s learning process, and it can be hard to replicate that from a computer.
The good news? At CSU Global, online education is all we’ve done for more than a decade—so we know a thing or two about learning and connecting from afar. Read on for some tips on keeping those human connections strong.
Build a Community
One of the most appealing aspects of online learning is the flexibility, allowing students to plan their classes around work schedules, family obligations, and free time. The flip side of that flexibility is that all of the students in a class might not be working on the same material simultaneously, making it challenging to collaborate.
Luckily, we live in a digital world, which means there are dozens of technological options to help students connect and collaborate on their school work. Seek out the other students in your class, find someone with a similar learning style and schedule, and then arrange for a video or phone call to work together on the material. Failing that, simply start a group chat over Google Hangouts, Slack, Facebook Messenger, Discord (and maybe even challenge some classmates to a game through CSU Global eSports), or any other messaging program to stay in touch.
Many online faculty are doing their best to create inclusive, interactive online learning communities, complete with active participation in group projects, discussion boards, and multimedia materials.
But these resources won’t do you much good if you don’t take advantage of them! It’s tempting to work on your own and set your own pace, but you’ll miss out on learning about your classmates and bouncing ideas off each other. To make the most of your online learning experience, make sure to use all the resources and platforms available to you. You’ll be better engaged with the material, and you might make some friends along the way!
Interacting with your classmates is one thing, but interacting with your professors is another essential aspect of any education. There will often be a question-and-answer feature to online classes, so take advantage of it and make sure you’re not missing anything.
When reading or studying on your own, take notes of things that don’t make sense and make an effort to reach out to the professor or your classmates for help. Don’t wait until the material gets ahead of you, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you think you’re falling behind. You’ll develop a rapport with your professor and get a lot more out of your classes.
Explore CSU Global
It’s not easy, but with a little extra effort, you can get the same level of community involvement and human interaction out of an online learning environment as you would in a traditional classroom, all without leaving your home!
If you’re ready to take the next step in your education and career, CSU Global is the place for you. We offer certificates, bachelor’s degrees, and even master’s degrees to take your job skills, marketability, and personal growth to the next level. Find out more today!