How to Connect With Your Online Classmates

by Kalee Ackerman | Mar 04, 2020
Written by Kendall Job, Marketing & Communications Intern

1. Introduce yourself
From day one, make an effort to connect and build relationships with your classmates. You have the opportunity to extend these connections far beyond just the online course. Once you really get to know some people, they become a part of your network. Say hello, give some background about you (and your career, if applicable) and connect with people on LinkedIn. Just because you don’t see these people in person doesn’t mean you can’t help each other out in the future. Plus, simply putting your name out there into the class makes it feel a little less like you’re taking the class either alone or with total strangers. 

2. Use the provided discussion boards
Discussion boards are a beautiful thing. Not only is this a great place to introduce yourself (hint hint!), but you can also ask and answer questions, share ideas, ask for clarification from the instructor and help out other students, too. It should not be intimidating to add to the discussion board. The piece most people feel is missing in an online course is face to face interaction, and discussion boards are about as close as you can get to achieve this! 

3. Work together
You’re not alone in the online class world! Chances are, everyone is experiencing the same worries about staying organized and keeping on top of their work as you are. Each student took this class for a reason and everyone just wants to succeed. By utilizing any sources of connection that you can, especially discussion boards, you can all work together to work out issues and help one another out if there is ever any confusion on work or assignments.

4. Plan meet-ups
If you happen to live in the same area as anyone in your online class, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact them to meet up. This is a great way to make a much more personal connection and actually build relationships with those in your course. You can work together on assignments, talk about the course and how it relates to your academic or career path or simple get to know one another to match a name to face. If in-person meet-ups aren’t possible, connect through social media. Make a Facebook group, add everyone to a group chat or exchange emails to keep up with your classmates. 

Overall, taking an online course is such a great way to not only continue down your academic or career path, but also to connect with your classmates and grow your professional network. Don’t me intimidated just because you can’t see them! They’re their through discussion boards, social media, LinkedIn and in-person or video meet-ups. If you work to cultivate relationships with your fellow students, it will surely pay off in the future. 


Other resources: 
http://bit.ly/2NkZjQv 
http://bit.ly/34aSbNC 
http://bit.ly/34cnAim 



Want to know about the latest updates?

Keep up with the latest updates and events at online.illinois.edu by subscribing to our newsletter.