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Your New Community: How to Develop Relationships in an Online College

There’s a misconception that if you attend an online college, you won’t have the opportunity to establish friendships and connect with your peers. Depending on the institution, this isn’t 100% true. For example, in attending Bryan University you’ll connect with classmates through platforms such as Yellowdig, Zoom, Slack, and more!

Here’s how to develop relationships in an online college and build a sense of community:

  • Introduce yourself to others in your class
  •  Be communicative during class
  •  Engage in group discussions and forums
  •  Join webinars and speaking engagements

This guide will expound on the tips above for making connections with your classmates and how to strengthen relationships with your online professors too!

Can College Students Make Connections with Others in an Online Class?

People connect over the Internet all the time.

It takes a little more work to make connections with the others in your online college class, but it’s by no means impossible.

Platforms like Zoom allow you to video chat in online classes, so it’s not like you’re devoid of body language, facial expressions, and other context clues that guide your social interactions.

Yellowdig resembles an online forum where you are openly able to chat and interact with classmates.

In that regard, an online-based friendship is no different than those you would enjoy in real life!

How Do Online Students Build Relationships?

Let’s go over some tips that you can follow today to make a great impression on your online classmates and plant the seeds of friendship.

Introduce Yourself to Others in Your Class

If you were taking an in-person college class with 30 or 50 other people, would you walk in with your head down and keep it down? Not if you wanted to make friends, no!

Before your instructor logs on for the day, take the opportunity for a bit of small talk with your classmates.

Wait for a quiet moment and introduce yourself. You’ll find that you’ll start a chain reaction in that other classmates will introduce themselves in kind.

Before you know it, there will be a few people who you will have talked to before your first class even starts!

Log in early before classes from then on out to find more opportunities to talk to your classmates ahead of class.

If you’re allowed to linger on camera for a few minutes after class, this is a great time to get chatty as well. 

Be Communicative During Class

Making an impression on your classmates is as easy as being the vocal one in the “room.”

We’re not recommending that you jump in to talk about something you’re not informed about, asking questions is different, of course, and always encouraged.

You also shouldn’t disrupt the class just to chat.

Instead, wait for those moments when you know the answer to the question or have an impassioned view to share.

Raise your hand (if that’s how your professor runs the class), wait to be called on, and then share!

If you do this often enough, you may find that other classmates become more conversational too!

Engage in Group Discussions and Forums

Out of sight does not mean out of mind, or it shouldn’t if you’re trying to work on that sense of community at your online college.

Once class wraps up for the day, periodically check group discussions and forums to see if there’s room for you to participate.

Be an active presence as often as you have the time. This is another great way to make a solid impression not only on your classmates but also on your instructor. 

Join Webinars and Speaking Engagements

When your online college hosts live speaking events such as webinars, sign up for as many as your schedule allows.

You could find classmates who are interested in the same types of topics you are. It’s also always good to expand your horizons!

How Do You Build Relationships with Professors Online?

Throughout your college education, you’ll build relationships with professors too.

When your instructors are remote, it’s easy to feel a disconnect, but don’t despair.

Here are some pointers for strengthening the student-teacher relationship so you can see your instruction as a mentor too.

Connect with Your Professors on LinkedIn

Before your class starts for the semester, go on LinkedIn, and look up your college network.

Begin adding your professors as well as fellow students once you see what your class roster looks like.

This will give you a convenient means of staying in touch between classes and when the class ends for the semester.

Engage During Class

Yes, we had to bring up this tip again because it’s so valuable in building connections with both your classmates and your instructor, as we mentioned.

You’re also furthering your knowledge by being more hands-on in your education, so it’s a win-win all across the board!

Use Virtual Office Hours

Like any instructor at a college or university, your professor has office hours. These are virtual as is every other component of your education but are still worth taking advantage of.

We’d suggest using office hours during the first week of classes to start.

Introduce yourself to your professor outside of the classroom setting and be sure to ask them any questions you have on what information will be in the class, what kinds of resources they recommend you check out, and if there are any groups or clubs you can join to make your online college experience better.

From there, periodically check in to ask about class topics or assignments you’re unclear of, discuss tests, and ask for guidance.

Thank Them as the Class Ends for the Semester

The semester will inevitably come to an end. You worked hard, and through the instruction of your professor, you feel like you learned a lot.

We’d suggest connecting with them via email or social media to thank them for taking the time to instruct you.

In your message, be clear that you hope you two can stay in touch into the next semester and during the rest of your time in academia.

Ready to Develop Relationships and Build a Sense of Community at Your Online College?

If you’re looking for a strong sense of community that you can build on at your online college and the opportunity to develop relationships, look no further than Bryan University.

We pride ourselves on providing a student experience like no other! Students always come first.

During your live online classes, you can consistently connect with your peers, instructors, and mentors.

You’ll rely on Zoom video-teleconferencing during class so you can both see and hear all your classmates and your instructor.

Bryan U regularly hosts live events to introduce you to industry professionals and possibly your next mentor.

We understand that students can get busy, which is why all live events are recorded and available for playback.

Bryan University also has personal success coaches who offer mentoring and tutoring when you need it.

Anytime you want to get in touch with your personal success coach, you can reach them via Zoom, chat, phone, text, or email.

Everything about the Bryan University college experience is designed to help you succeed and thrive!

Learn more about the Bryan University Student Experience today!

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