Top students have several habits. In addition to sitting in front of the room (akin to asking questions in the online environment) they consistently interact with the instructor not only within the classroom, but also without. It can be a joy to work together with your teacher to accomplish the learning that is set out before you. One way to show your teacher that you are eager to learn from them is to touch bases with them outside of class time (assuming that your online class has set meeting times).

In a virtual world however, you may think that connecting with your online college professor can be dull and digitally sterile, but this is not the case in most situations (assuming the professor himself is not already dull). In the online world of schooling, professors often have virtual times in which they connect with students outside the regular class time. This is typically known as their virtual office hours. During this time you can connect with your teacher as well as other students and get additional help for your assignments and class work.

The virtual office will be composed most likely of a website (probably the same one you use to log into for classes, assignment detail and grades) that you log into and gives a way for the teacher to present additional information, talk to and receive chat messages from the students. Some virtual office software has the capability to share video conferencing between you and your professor. This can be a great way to get to know the teacher better, especially if they are often so engaged in teaching during class time that they don’t really feel like they are really there (this may actually be the case if the classes are recordings).

Most teachers want to see their students succeed, so take advantage of this desire and let them help you. When you visit a professor outside of the class make sure to have put some time or thought into solving your own questions first. This way you show that you’re not there too mooch answers, but rather understand the ideas correctly.

Another benefit to reaching out to your professor through his or her virtual office hours is that you can sometimes get tips that were not exactly relevant to the class lesson, but that can supplement your learning. This of course depends on the professor and how they utilize their office time, but you can always ask for an easier way to do some computations or a mnemonic to help you remember a concept more readily.

All in all, the connection that we have as human beings is strengthened by communication. The more senses we tap into the more developed those relationships become. Take the time to ask questions via email, phone and video conferencing to strengthen that relationship. It may not seem like a lot, but every connection made can strengthen all others. Take this to heart and it may just help you thrive in your classroom setting. Good luck touching bases with your online college professor!

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