Online classes are made up of a community of students, just like any traditional classroom. Thanks to social media, interactive online tools, and digital curriculum design, students have plenty of opportunities to help facilitate making friends with their virtual classmates.
Being proactive about forming friendships goes a long way when you learn online. Here are four tips for building friendships with your digital peers.
1. Connect on social media.
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter are already cornerstones of interaction for friends IRL. In fact, a third of the 76% of teenagers who use social media say they spend time with friends through social media every day. Social networking apps are a key place where friends interact and express themselves, so connecting with classmates through these online platforms is a great way to build deeper relationships and make new friends outside of school.
Social media is even being embraced by online professors, who encourage students to introduce themselves to classmates via Instagram, or engage in course-related discussions using Twitter or Google Hangouts. Connecting with your peers who are comfortable doing so is a good first step to getting to know one another better and making friends in your online course.
2. Join a virtual club. Or, better yet, start your own!
There’s a giant community of online students out there, and many of them are members of student-created clubs and organizations centered around professional development and student networking. These groups often host video lectures featuring faculty members or industry professionals, and sometimes even plan events where members can meet in person. If you and your classmates are interested in similar subjects, then getting active in, or even leading one of these clubs, is a great way to get to know each other. But what if you can’t find a club to fit your passions or interests? Go ahead…start your own! Making friends usually begins with having shared interests. Many online high schools, including ASU Prep Digital, will provide faculty advisors to help students establish new student clubs. Taking the initiative is not only good for your social life, it’s also a great resume builder for your college apps.
3. Use the resources available through your online classes.
Thankfully, most of today’s virtual classrooms have been developed with student collaboration in mind. Many online courses have discussion boards and live video lessons built into their interface, which students are encouraged to actively use. These tools are not only useful for collaborating and sharing information, but can also be used for non-academic group chats where classmates can interact casually and bond.
4. Plan an in-person meetup.
If you happen to live near your classmates, you can use the tools and resources mentioned above to organize a physical meetup. Having shared experiences away from the academic setting is an ideal way for classmate relationships to evolve into friendships. If you and your online classmates are scattered across a region, then planning a day-trip to meet up or work on a project together at a central location can be an exciting and unique shared experience.
Remember, making friends isn’t always easy and can take time — even in a traditional classroom — but it is certainly untrue to think that being in an online environment removes all opportunities to make friends.
Are you are virtual high school student? If so, we’d love to hear your pro-tips for staying connected with your classmates. Visit our Facebook page and let us now some of the ways you make friends in your online classes.