How Can I Become Socially Involved in College if I Study Online?

Online college classes offer flexibility and financial savings, but students may feel disconnected from peers, teachers, and campus life. However, just because you’re not physically attending classes doesn’t mean you have to be isolated. This article provides ideas about how to become socially involved while taking online classes.

Get to Know Your Online Classmates

Seek out instructors who are accessible and who encourage student discussion and collaboration. Read online reviews from previous students or e-mail your college adviser to assist you in choosing. Professors that encourage interaction in their classes may introduce themselves with a video or written bio and ask students to do the same. Ask about classes that include an online discussion board or chat room. Live online classes may help you feel more connected. “The Centrality of Social Presence in Online Teaching and Learning” elaborates on the need for social presence in the classroom and includes methods for making it happen. Some classes simply are not offered online, so you may consider taking an on-campus course on the weekend.

Make a Point of Interacting

For many people, online classes take more discipline and intention than traditional classes and the same can be said for having a social life. If classmates provide their e-mail addresses, send them a note and get to know them. Then, you can set up a time to meet face-to-face with a few new friends. Get involved in online classroom discussions through chat rooms or written discussion boards. Some people feel more comfortable opening up in written form so you may actually get to know them faster. Take advantage of online tutoring, or create or join a study group at a classmate’s house.

Participate in Extracurricular Activities

Check online listings for paid or volunteer work on campus, participate in or attend theater and sports events, work out at the school recreation center, and join any clubs or organizations that interest you. If you don’t find what your looking for, consider starting an organization tailored to the needs of online students.

Connect with Social Media

Nowadays, nearly everyone and every organization is linked to some form of social media. Find out which ones your classmates and school uses and stay up to date with your computer or smart phone.

Enjoy the Campus Atmosphere

Even if you’re not attending classes on campus you can go there to study if you live nearby. Take your laptop or a textbook, find a group of students, and ask if you can join them, or stop by for lunch in the cafeteria. There’s always a few shy students sitting by themselves who would be glad to have a friend.

Online education is becoming more popular, and a new style of interacting while attending college is emerging. It may take a little more work to become socially involved while attending college online, but online culture is continuously expanding, developing new resources, and bringing people together in new ways.