You’ve decided that taking some online courses will be the most convenient way for you to earn that degree you’ve been seeking. However, you soon come to realize that studying online is a bit different than the traditional classroom in the sense that you do not have personal contact with anyone and cannot just “talk” with them directly.
Therefore, it can get quite lonely when you’re attempting to complete online courses, since you will be working alone for the most part, reading the material, logging on and commenting about different topics that are posted, and completing the assignments and tests assigned to you.
However, there are some steps you can take to make the online classroom experience a little more socially friendly.
First, try to connect with the other students who are taking the online course with you. You can join them on the message board and discuss the topics being discussed in the online course, as well as assist them if they have problems with the assignment. They may do the same for you when you have difficulty with an assignment as well.
Second, see if any of your fellow classmates live near you; if so, you could suggest meeting together in a study group to help one another learn the material. This can help you have more personal contact with your online classmates.
Third, it’s important that you log onto the course a minimum of 5-6 times a week, if not more; staying up-to-date with what the professor and your classmates have posted on different topics can help you concentrate on the course material and make you feel more like you’re in a traditional classroom setting.
If you log on less often and fall behind, it will be very difficult to catch up, and being that you alone will have to make the effort and commitment to catch up, this will just increase the feelings of loneliness, which could further hinder your ability to complete the online course. So don’t fall behind; attend online class religiously just like you would a traditional classroom.
Fourth, make sure that you take some time away from the computer and spend some quality offline time with family and friends. This can help to give you a break from the “isolation” of attending classes online.
If possible, try talking with them about what you are learning online and how the process works; this can involve them in what you are doing and they may provide additional motivation for you to stay with and complete the online coursework even when you don’t feel like doing so by asking you what you are learning online, how you like the experience of online coursework, etc.
Fifth, discuss your online coursework with your colleagues at work. Tell them what you are learning and describe the process of how you are learning it online. This may increase their curiosity of online coursework and they may want you to keep them updated on how it is working out for you, further encouraging you to finish the online coursework. In addition, they may even want to take an online class themselves; you might even take some future online classes together, which can help you from becoming lonely the next time you decide to or need to take an online course.
Nowadays, online courses can be just as educationally beneficial as their offline counterparts, but you need to be aware that online coursework requires less human interaction, and therefore, you need to adjust accordingly to make sure you stay committed and complete your online courses.