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Social Networking in Online Learning Communities

written by: Kathy Foust•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 12/3/2009

Are you worried that taking classes online limits your social oppurtunities? Going to school online can open up social avenues that you didn't know existed. This article explores the social benefits of of online learning communities.

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    Online Learning Communities

    There is a myth that taking classes online limits your social interactions. The fact is that taking classes online can actually expose you to social opportunities you had no idea existed. There are many factors that contribute to the social aspects of online learning. Listed below are some benefits and ideas for social promotion through online learning.

    • You don't have to leave the house to meet with your study group. That means you can meet with them in your pajamas if you wish!
    • Many schools have free online communities. These free online communities may or may not meet in real life, but communication is primarily online.
    • Online communication is different from face to face communication. When you consider that communication via online schooling is probably about a topic from school, you can see how that communication can become very focused. This is a great benefit when assisting or being assisted through a study group. Facts are literally written out in detail simply because that is the way you literally communicate. Those details may be the very thing that helps you to get through classes that may otherwise be a struggle.
    • Again consider the details of online communication. You are likely to find someone in your class that has the same interests as you. That means you can create your own online group and by doing so, give others a chance to join and share your interests with you. For example, you may be in an online Psychology class. Through the discussion board you may read that someone happens to be fascinated with Split Brain Syndrome. You also may share that interest but never knew anyone else that did. Here is the perfect opportunity for you to expand your social world and it is based on a common interest!
    • Many groups in online schools plan activities that are optional for members to attend. You are notified via email or group postings. It is your option whether to go or not. Had you been in a traditional school, you may have never even known about the group, much less known about the activities the group planned.

    These are just a few of the ways that learning online can be socially beneficial. Get creative. Form free online learning communities that cater to your interests. It would be almost impossible to not be able to find others who share your interests!