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 more positive.
How Students Can Introduce Themselves
What can you do to help students get to know each other in their online course?
First, consider the setting. Remind students that what they say to introduce themselves at a party or even in the dorm will probably be different than what they should say in an online classroom. Suggest that students offer a blend of personal and professional information. It would be great if they can include a picture of themselves or links to a professional social media page or website if it is appropriate.
How Students Can Work Together Successfully Online
Although students may never meet the other students in their online classroom in person, they will still have to find a way to get to know each other and work together that will result in 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 for students to establish a positive relationship with their fellow students right from the beginning. One way to make a good first impression would be for them to “Volunteer to set up a Facebook group for the class or to post [their] notes in a blog that other students can review before the first test.”
Students should provide contact information to their classmates or group members and stay on top of deadlines, particularly ones for group projects. Finally, students should of course keep their communication with their online classroom participants clear and professional.
How to be Satisfied with Your Online Class
Once you have passed the make introductions stage, 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:
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:
- an appropriate learning style
- instructor knowledge and feedback
- student interactions
- course structure
- Corry, Michael and Watkins, Ryan. 2014, E-Learning Companion: Student’s Guide to Online Success, 4th ed., Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.