College students today have a whole new realm of get to know you activities to master — those directed specifically at an online classroom.

There are many ways to break the ice and make introductions, some more effective than others. Read on for some how to tips to help you make the online classroom experience positive.

How to make introductions

Maybe you professor has offered specific instructions about how you and your fellow college students should get to know one another. But if they haven’t, what are some things you should consider before you make introductions?

First, consider the setting. What you may say to introduce yourself at a party or even in the dorm will probably be different than what you will say in your online classroom. Next, offer a blend of personal and professional information. You can also consider including a picture of yourself or links to a professional social media page or your website if you have one and it is appropriate. A final how to would be to follow the lead that your professor sets when she does her own introduction.

How to work together successfully

Although you may never meet the other students in your online classroom in person, it doesn’t change that you will still have to find a way to get to know each other and work together that will bring you all success in the course. Ryan Watkins and Michael Corry explain in their book E-Learning Companion: Student’s Guide to Online Success 4th edition (Watkins and Corry, 10-11) that it is important to establish a positive relationship with your fellow college students and your professor in the beginning. They wrote that one way to make a good first impression would be to “Volunteer to set up a Facebook group for the class or to post your notes in a blog that other students can review before the first test.”

Be sure to provide your contact information to your classmates or group members and to stay on top of any deadlines, particularly ones for group projects. Finally, keep your communication with your online classroom participants clear and professional.

How to be satisfied with your online classroom

You have passed the make introductions stage and you have figured out how to get to know everyone in your online classroom. What exactly makes online learning a successful experience beyond that? Heather Kauffman wrote “A Review of Predictive Factors of Student Success in and Satisfaction with Online Learning” for the January 1, 2015, issue of Research in Learning Technology with her ideas.

Kauffman cited a study whose “Results indicated that course design and time management were crucial components to successful online learning, while lack of community and technical problems were most challenging for online learners.” Factors that were necessary to create satisfaction for college students in online classrooms were self-motivation, an appropriate learning style, instructor knowledge and feedback, student interactions, and course structure.

Do you have any tips on how to make introductions in an online classroom? Let us know in the comments.

Reference: Corry, Michael and Watkins, Ryan. 2014, E-Learning Companion: Student’s Guide to Online Success, 4th ed., Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.