AIU Blog

The AIU blog shares ideas, information and tips aimed at helping you get ahead personally and professionally, with topics ranging from online learning success to career development.

How to Make the Most of Student-Professor Interactions in Online Degree Programs (and Why You Should)

Image of contact keys on keyboard - Student-professor interactions in online degree programs.

When you’re taking online classes, it’s a virtual that given your goal is to maximize time. That’s true whether it’s burying your nose in learning materials or absorbing what your professor has to say. The key is making the most of your student-professor exchanges so you get the job done and get it done right.

According to a study by The Sloan Consortium, learning effectiveness, faculty satisfaction and student satisfaction hinge largely on the relationships and connections made. Building these relationships can help students feel invested and encouraged to interact. Here are three ways you can get started on this important step as a student in an online degree program:

Be an Active Live Chat Participant

This a foundational component of the online learning experience and an opportunity to focus on important issues, get answers to questions and learn about resources that can help in your studies. When your boundaries are not limited by geography, you can take in information wherever and whenever your schedule and lifestyle dictates. That said, you need to review materials ahead of time, familiarize yourself with chat room signals and symbols and make sure your connection is quick enough to get the most bang for your proverbial buck. Listen to the rules laid out by your professor, and follow them. It has everything to do with the impression you make — and the one your professor takes away.

Reach Out Via Email

There will be times when communicating via email is essential. It can be a great tool since you have a chance to compile your thoughts before sending them off. Remember, though, that your professor cannot read your mind, so avoid off-handed remarks or jokes that could fall flat or be taken the wrong way. Keep to the point, communicate effectively and show yourself as informed. It will be noticed — and remembered.

Connect Over the Phone

While these days, communication by phone is less frequent, there are times when nothing beats a well-timed conversations over the wires. Because your professor is busy, too, make sure you have your ducks in a row so as not to waste his or her time. Jot down key points and questions you’d like to discuss. And make sure you take good notes so your takeaway can be put to good use.