Online Learning

Interacting with other Distance Learning Students

Interacting with the other distance-learning students on your course is going to take up a massive percentage of your time online during your studies. Most distance-learning schools (certainly any worth their salt) make a point of having a message board and a chat room where students can go to discuss lectures, theories, assignments and anything else that springs to mind.

The other students on your course are exactly the same as you; there to learn. This doesn’t mean, however, that you cannot befriend and socialize with each other. Get to know the other students on your course as you never know when you may find yourself working with them. Exchange e-mail addresses, Instant Messenger contacts, and any other contact information you feel necessary, Be open, inviting and friendly from the outset, and it will help you in every way imaginable during the course itself.

The chances are that you will be interacting with other distance learning students in one of three ways: via message board, through a chat room, and by teleconference. The key thing to remember across the whole spectrum is to be polite! The Internet may be anonymous, but an online distance learning program is not the place to insult, offend, attack or otherwise belittle fellow posters.

A few other little rules of etiquette: on message boards, do everything in your power to avoid text-speak, slang or abbreviation. Writing “U R wrong LOL!” will probably not endear you to your fellow students or instructors. Instead, structure your posts as well as you can, try your utmost to get spelling and grammar correct, and use punctuation and capitalization in the right place.

Chat rooms allow a little more leeway. It’s not necessary to meticulously proof-read everything you say, but try and at least keep text-speak and slang to a minimum once again. In fact, purging it from your vocabulary for the duration of the course may be a good idea. Do your best not to interrupt your fellow students. Most chat programs let you know when someone is in the middle of typing a message, so pay attention and wait for your turn to speak.

In short, treat your fellow students as you would expect to be treated yourself, and you will probably find yourself making new friends before you can blink. Your fellow students make great sounding boards, work partners, and valuable contacts when the course has finished…if you are willing to cultivate and maintain those relationships.

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Online Learning