written by: Beth Taylor•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 1/11/2010
Students in a virtual classroom may feel isolated and removed from their classrooms and coursework. These students can learn collaboration and interactions in the classroom for success.
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Education changes to conform with the times and technology, and people must conform to these changes, as well. The ways students and teachers interact is going through massive change at the moment as online learning becomes more popular. Online learning, however, is still a new concept. School administrators, professors, teachers, and students are together forging new territory and they will make mistakes. Hopefully, everyone involved will learn from these mistakes and the virtual classrooms of the future will be polished and perfected replicas of their former selves. In the meantime, there are ways in which students taking an online course can appropriately interact, and collaborate with their remote professors and ensure that they are understanding the material and doing their work correctly.
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Any online professor should respond to student emails within a day. Students need answers and clarifications in order for them to more forward with the class material. When considering an online course or program, ask or read about the professor's policy about email communication, and find one who is receptive to being available to his or her students.
While involved in a virtual classroom, it is easy to feel isolated and as if you are on your own when it comes to getting questions answered. Do not be shy about emailing your teacher with questions. A good professor will not mind; a good professor will be happy to help you.
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Some virtual classrooms have class chat rooms in which students can meet to discuss the material and collaborate to get the work done. In a sense, they study together. While taking an online course, make a point of visiting this chat room every day to keep you in touch with what enfolds in discussion of course material.
The best online professors also visit the chat room to answer questions and discuss the material with students. When looking for an online program, look for one in which the teachers are not only in the chat rooms, but even have official "office hours" in chat so you are guaranteed to have their attention at this time. And remember, don't be shy about joining the discussion and asking questions. A good teacher will respect you for being interested in and thinking about the material.