Students and teachers alike worry that enrolling in an online course does not give them the chance to make connections. Students don’t feel like real students when they are merely looking at their screens and reading modules. In reality, online classrooms give as much opportunity as traditional classrooms to develop relationships and nurture online learning.
Introduce Yourself Before Class Begins
In the first session of your online paralegal certificate program in Chicago, you should introduce yourself to the class. You shouldn’t focus on just telling them your name or where you’re from. Tell them a little bit about your hobbies and interests, what you’re currently working on, and what you plan to do with your paralegal degree.
Participate in Group Discussions
Your instructor is going to facilitate discussions about different topics in the virtual classroom. Share your knowledge and opinions. Don’t be afraid to be judged on your lack of expertise in the subject. The more you participate in classroom discussions, the more your peers are going to be aware of you. You should let your personality shine through in these online discussions.
Create a Peer Discussion Thread Outside the Virtual Classroom
Make an effort to be friends with your online classmates. Add them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram and Twitter. Create a thread on Facebook where you can chat about anything—your classes, professors, jobs, etc. Who knows what kind of friendships you can strike? Isn’t it fun to have a new set of friends on social media? You spend time with these people virtually, discussing subjects and meeting them online. That’s more than what you can say for half your friends on Facebook. So even if you haven’t seen them face to face, they’re as real as friends or acquaintances can be.
Ask for Career Advice
You shouldn’t only focus on your relationship with your peers. You can build a professional relationship with your instructors as well. Ask career advice from your instructors. Let them know that you value their opinions. Open up about some of your concerns in the industry. They can guide you in the right direction. Moreover, they can recommend you to industry friends who need your particular skills and capabilities.
Meet in Person
If possible, meet your classmates for a coffee or dinner. Nothing compares to meeting face to face and starting a friendship. Later on, you can form smaller in-person study groups and attend local events together. Since you’re attending the same class, there’s a huge possibility that you have the same interests and passions. You probably have similar goals. You can help each other reach for these goals. In such tough industries, you need all the friends you can get.
Make Yourself Available
Whether it’s participating in class discussions or offering help to a classmate, make yourself available and ready to help. Your classmates shouldn’t feel awkward about reaching out to you. Make an effort to be welcoming and friendly. If you have a classmate who missed a class, offer to help that classmate by sending your notes.
It’s an effort to develop relationships with your online classmates and instructors. But this is one of those things you might want to work hard for because friendships are rewarding. Finding friends in the same industry with the same interests is rare.