How to Network in an Online Class

Tips, tricks, hints, and guidelines to help online college students utilize the unique nature of online college classes to build a network of professional contacts and to improve their own professional communication skills.


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    Once enrolled in your online classes, consider your professional goals and utilize the unique nature of online education to build your network of professional contacts and enhance your level of professional decorum. The following are a few key guidelines to help improve your online communication in your online college classes.
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    Be sure you have an email account that you check often. As email becomes an increasingly dominant aspect of business communications in every industry, your online classes will provide you with invaluable experience to hone your electronic and written communication skills. Your current or future job likely utilizes email to interact both internally, with coworkers, and externally, with clients.
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    Always remember that your classmates might hold varying levels of authority in a diverse array of industries and from a large demographic and geographical area. The classmates with whom you interact in your online college classes might currently or in the future prove remarkably beneficial business contacts.
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    Use the discussion board frequently. Interact both on a personal and professional level with your classmates. Find out something about each of your classmates - their employer, their title and position, and the reason that they are taking online classes. Forging friendships and creating contacts within your online classes can prove fruitful in your own career. Don't be afraid to display your abilities to think creatively and critically, organize your thoughts, and communicate both effectively and in a professional manner.
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    Note that typing in all capitalized letters is an electronic representation of yelling. Never yell at your classmates or instructors. Also, remember that not all computers have the same fonts installed, so use a common font that is likely to be visible to all classmates - unusual and script fonts should be avoided. Additionally, you should always use black fonts of a common size and displayed on a white background - bright colors, large print, and fun fonts might be appropriate for personal communications, but are not acceptable in a professional environment.
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    Create an electronic signature that includes your full name, title and position, place of employment, and general contact information. This will provide your instructors and classmates with a method in which to contact you should professional or business opportunities arise for which they believe you to be well-suited. Use your new signature in both your emails and in your discussion board postings.
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    Avoid arguments with your classmates. The anonymity of online classes allows many students to engage in conversation and reveal opinions that they might not share in a traditional classroom. Though you might have an urge to offer passionate disagreement, you should refrain from doing so. Your classmates are invaluable resources, both for your current education and your future professional endeavors.
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    Respect, and learn from, your instructors. Likewise, many of your professors are selected to teach online classes because of not only their education, but for their extensive professional experience within the industry. This means that they likely still have numerous personal and professional contacts with which they might connect their qualified online students. Presenting a diplomatic, professionally demeanor in front of your professors might lead to additional career opportunities following your graduation from your accredited online degree program, or possibly even sooner!
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    Take notes. Not only should you be taking notes on the materials presented within your courses, but you should also take notes on what you learn from and about your classmates. Jot down names, titles, positions, employers, interests, and anything else that you learn about your classmates - you never know when you might need to contact a classmate or professor for a reference, or even to discuss your ideas and goals.
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    Ask Questions Regularly. Students in an online college class have several distinct networking advantages over students in traditional, on-campus classes. One such advantage is the diverse array of classmates. As an online college student, you will likely have classmates and professors from all over the country, even the world. Your classmates and professors will also likely have diverse personal and professional experiences, in various industries, for all different kinds of employers, in numerous geographical locations, and with varied perspectives. You can learn a great deal about your chosen online degree field and eventual career by simply asking questions and getting to know your classmates on a personal level. Likewise, you should return the favor by sharing your own professional experiences and opinions.

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Categories: Distance Learning