The Value of Social Interaction in an Online Environment
Even though some classes in Linfield’s Online and Continuing Education Program are taken online, this doesn’t mean there is a lack of social interaction with your classmates or even instructors. Craig describes his experience of learning about his classmates, their personalities, and how they were able to help him in his learning, all while interacting online as they all strived to earn an online degree.
“Again, I was surprised at how easy in an online environment it was to interact with my fellow students and teachers. At first I really enjoyed that we were all kept together in one big group before we were split off into discussion and work groups, because in that one gigantic group of 50 or 60, whatever it was, you get to hear everybody’s story and see everyone’s story, and then as we split into smaller work groups, you get to know the personalities. You see someone’s name and you immediately know their personality even though you have never met the face to face. Regardless of their grammar or punctuation or the way they write, everyone tends to write the same way all the time, and so you even pick up their grammar cues and they way that they write or the way they approach whatever they are writing about. You find that you know a lot more about people that you have never met face to face just from reading what they write day after day or week after week. So, I was quite surprised at that kind of interaction. I thought they would be just nameless people who are all taking a class together, and that certainly is not true in any way, shape or form. And then it is interesting to follow the streams of conversation that happen. When one student tries to help another provide advice, and I’m amazed at how those can go on to 16 or 17 or 2 different discussions down a rabbit trail as they continue to go, but it’s all about that one student and another student trying to help them. So that interaction was quite surprising. I wasn’t expecting that. And I think the thing I appreciated most about the instructor is I never put a question out there that I didn’t get an immediate response.”