How to Form Genuine Connections in an Online Program

When we talk to potential students who are considering an online program to enhance their education and further their career, we’ve found that they are very attracted to the ease, accessibility, and convenience of the online structure. However, many students have never taken online courses and are unsure of how the process will work. They often ask our admissions department how teachers and students are able to connect—both socially and academically—when they aren’t in the same room and may never meet in person.

Lindenwood Online’s admissions counselors often advise students to consider the following when they are searching for a suitable online program.

Accreditation

Always look for universities that have accredited online programs. Accreditation means that a college’s programs are verified by an external authority. It guarantees that certain educational standards are being met and lets student know that they are considering a high-quality program. For example, Lindenwood University Online is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and is an ACBSP (Accreditation Council for Business School and Programs) member.

Questions to Ask

If you live close to a college campus, you can visit an admissions officer. If you don’t, you should still contact the admissions department with a list of questions, including:

  • How do students form connections with their instructors and classmates?
  • What kind of academic support do you offer through your online programs?
  • How accessible are the instructors? How many online office hours do they offer each week?
  • What happens if I’m having difficulty understanding and completing assignments?
  • Will live video be used? What happens if I can only view taped material?
  • How do I ask the instructor questions?
  • How will I discuss coursework with my classmates? Will there be group assignments?
  • How are class lectures disseminated and discussed?
  • How will I receive feedback and in what timeframe? How can I give feedback?

While all students expect a high quality education, regardless of the kind of program or degree they are seeking, they will most likely be pursuing different goals during and after their time as an online student. If you are searching for a truly personal online program that fits your specific goals and expectations, be sure to ask many questions about the university’s policies, the program’s structure, and the faculty.

Engaging Instruction and Group Assignments

In well-designed online classes that foster the connection between students and instructors, there is always the opportunity for better and more communication. It’s important to students that they are being treated as a person, not as a computer. They ask us: If you can’t raise your hand and ask questions or turn and listen to your classmate as they make a great point, then where is the connection in an online class? Although you may be taking online courses to earn a degree on your own time, most students still expect consistent interaction between the instructor and students.

Our online programs are designed to guarantee regular communication between students and instructors. Our faculty members utilize tools including multimedia, video lectures, discussion groups, and group projects not only to enhance learning, but to ensure that students and instructors are staying connected. We’ve heard instructors and students say that they learn just as much, if not more, from online discussions with each other as they do face-to-face in a classroom. That shows us that Lindenwood Online’s programs are interactive and positively focused on the student experience.

If you would like to hear more about Lindenwood Online’s programs and learn about the student experience, call or contact us today.