How Can Online Students Connect with Classmates?

By Ariana Jackson - August 20th, 2018


As a modern learner, your experience is likely to be different from that of a traditional student, who takes classes full-time and on a physical campus. Perhaps you study during lunch breaks or during your daily commute. You may be balancing school work with your career, family life, or community involvement.

Community involvement and interaction do not begin and end with the typical on-campus, in-person setting. There are many ways to make connections and stay in touch with classmates online.

Getting to Know Your Classmates

Make a great first impression. Typically, your first discussion-board assignment in an online class consists of introductions. This is the time for you to share your career and personal interests and goals with classmates, and to find common ground.

Be active in class discussions. Take a little extra time when you log into your courses to discuss the following with classmates:

    • Your academic and career progress.
    • The ways you’ve been able to incorporate what you’re learning in class into your current career.
    • Interesting, relevant, and non-controversial content you’ve found online.
  • Career and industry-related events and webinars.

Please note that some of the ideas would likely fit in an off-topic section of your course discussion boards, so confirm with your instructor first.

Consider virtual study groups. Study groups are fairly common on traditional campuses. As an online student, — with tools like Skype, Zoom, and Google Hangouts — they can be easily created online, as well. See if you can form a small group with three to five classmates who have similar schedules, and set up weekly virtual meetings to discuss assignments, share notes, and prepare for tests. You may be more likely to participate and complete assignments on time when you’re giving and receiving support from your peers.

Staying Connected

There are many ways to keep in touch with people online — via social media, forums, and online communities. CSU Global has recently launched a virtual student community, called CSU Global Connect, to increase connection, collaboration, and communication among students.

CSU Global Connect offers students the opportunity to communicate with peers, engage in student groups, join groups and societies, see upcoming events, and engage in peer-to-peer discussions.

As a modern learner and online student, you have a community of people worldwide to connect with. There are many others who share similar interests, goals and aspirations, and you may find that you’ll make genuine, lifelong connections with others.

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