Online classes are different from traditional courses in a variety of ways. Their schedules are more flexible, you don’t have to be in a physical classroom, and work is handed in via email instead of passed to the front of the room. Online classes are still the same in many ways though, and one of them is that students should get together to discuss the material they’re all trying to learn. One of the most common ways this happens is to create online discussion groups either in a forum-style setting, chat room, or via a Skype connection so that students who can’t get together physically can still talk.
Before you decide to try to work with your classmates online though, you need to make sure you’re ready to deal with any drama or problems that might ensue.
Tip #1: Establish Some Rules (And Enforce Them)
In order to make sure everyone in a group is on the same page it’s important to create a list of rules for everyone to abide by. These rules will help keep discussions on track, and they can help everyone feel secure. For instance a discussion group might install a rule that says “respect other members and their wishes,” or “this is a place for discussion and learning. If you can’t be civil you’ll be asked to leave.” Once the rules are established make sure you have a moderator who can take action to enforce those rules.
Tip #2: Try To Avoid Miscommunication
In any group setting it’s almost a given that someone is going to say something that will be misinterpreted. Rather than jumping all over someone or getting snarky though it’s a much better idea to ask what that person meant. If you can keep a civil discourse then you’ll get much clearer communication, and be able to learn more about both the subject matter and your fellow students at the same time.
Tip #3: Figure Out What You Want
When you join a discussion group for your online classes you need to know what you want out of the deal. Are you looking to socialize with your classmates to help feel more like a traditional class setting? Are you confused about the material and need help learning it? Do you want to help others by offering your own insight? You need to know what you’re expecting before you join so that you can figure out whether or not this group is going to meet your needs. If not then you either need to try to change the group, or find one that’s more suited to what you require.
For more information about online classes and how to succeed in them simply contact us today!