First of all, keep in mind that students get to spend a lot of time with family and friends. This is an age of social media. Friends are made online. Connections are built up online. Even the traditional school students seem to have an entire friend circle outside of their campus.
In fact, in an online environment, students can choose their friends! There is a whole new opportunity to connect with like-minded people in an online environment. There is no compulsion to gel with classmates as is the case with traditional schools. Thus, meaningful socialization takes place in the online environment. On the contrary, in a traditional school setting, students are often forced to make friends with their classroom peers, some of whom they might not find that “friendly” after all.
Online students do not need to be isolated in order to succeed. It is truly a big myth that needs to be debunked for the common welfare of students! A student might feel alone in a traditional school environment, amidst multiple students.
Online students are free to form study groups or make appointments with their professors to gather additional assistance. They might simply plan to meet up for a simple chatting as well. Thus, it is entirely up to the online students. They are given multiple opportunities to socialize. It depends on them whether they want to seize these opportunities or not. They might just decide to make meaningful bonds with their online class peers or refrain from doing so. The online students need to be self-initiators for this reason. They cannot remain passive with a laid-back attitude the entire time.
Here are the top 5 tips to make friends in online classes:
Giving introductions in the beginning
A majority of online classes start the first week with introductions. Some teachers make sure to use techniques to break the ice right at the beginning of the course. They can do it by initiating online discussions. Some teachers might ask students simply to share their study plans, hobbies, work, etc.
Make sure to read the instructions carefully to see if responses to peers’ introductions are required. You can read all your peers’ introductions and respond to a few of them. At the time of writing your own introduction, try to be as detailed as you are comfortable with doing. Usually, students write about their studies and work. When you see your peers posting photos, you can also join in by posting some. In short, try to be more interactive when you are in an online environment. Participate in all of the group activities with full enthusiasm.
Creating meaningful connections
Make sure to read your peers’ introductions. You can look for common topics and then lead a meaningful conversation with a group of your online peers or a peer. Make sure to reply to your peers accordingly. Some of the very common topics to carry out conversations are family activities, hobbies, work, and goals.
Every student has something with which he can relate to others. You can connect well with your peers talking about some other fun topics such as music, movies, gaming, reading, and sports. You might just talk about whether similarities and differences. Just take the time and effort to reply to responses you receive from your peers. Make sure to post and respond well. This is how you can build up good connections and do meaningful networking.
Make good use of social media
This is an age of social media. Most students participate with friends, colleagues, and family on social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook. Most of the schools set up a Facebook page for their classes to promote extra interests or communication. In case you find common ground with a peer in an online class, consider asking them to connect on social media. Friendships and professional relationships can build up this way. You can then go beyond the space and time of an online class. The power of networking in this era is huge. So, avail it in order to socialize well.
Form study groups
If you feel isolated, feel free to post inquiries to see if other students may be interested in meeting in the course chat room for study sessions. In case you are feeling a bit low, communicate with your professor well. Usually, professors can be a great help here. They will set up study groups in a special space in the online classroom where you can share in a chat room or an asynchronous discussion forum.
In case making connections for friendship or professional networking is something you would like to know more about, make sure to take the time to promote those types of peer and professional relationships.
Join chat rooms, virtual festivals and clubs
As an online student, you need to stay in touch with your teachers and peers. You can go for certain traditional yet effective ways to socialize. You can consider joining chat rooms to connect better. There might be virtual festivals organized by your school so that students for students like you to socially interact and have fun. It often turns out to be a fun experience for online students.
Your school might come up with book, debate, art and photography clubs to help you to socialize better by exchanging views. These are often started by schools to bring students from all over the country together. These activities expose students to different perspectives. It promotes interaction among students from diverse backgrounds.
Apart from the above-mentioned tips, you can try some other ways to socialize as well. You can avail some software and synchronous tools like Team Speak and Adobe Connect Professional to socialize. These come into play in world language courses where students are given a chance to speak and understand the language they are learning. This way students are able to not only communicate with their teachers but with each other as well.