Have you ever been on a blind date? Did you stay up all night wondering what you were going to wear? Wondering what you’d say? Wondering if you were going to have things in common? I haven’t, but I can sympathize with those who have. I have done similar things with a new job. You wear your best clothes, stock up your best jokes and even get their a bit early to show that you’re really excited and committed to begin working. While you don’t need to pull out your hair stressing over meeting with your online university project group for the first time, there are a couple of things you may want to do to help ease the meeting and make a good impression.

When you first get into an online college class you should make a point to introduce yourself to everyone and get to know each person a little. This does two things: one, it gives you a little better idea of who everyone is and if you are allowed to pick those with whom you work, you will be much more prepared to do so. And two, it helps break the ice and give you a head start on group projects. If you have prepared in this way, your group experience will be much smoother.

Next, when you are interacting with group members for the first time there is a good chance that you will not have already exchanged email addresses. Even if your online profile allows you to contact your classmates via the school system, you may wish to exchange a little bit more information to help group work roll along more smoothly.

You will also wish to share with your group your schedule for studying so they know when they can get a hold of you and when they shouldn’t expect to hear anything from you. A large part of online university group work is managing expectations. Set them early and live up to them. If you are going to deviate from them, let the others know. This will help keep your group running smoothly.

When you introduce yourself formally to your group let them know a little bit about you and your interests. Give them also a little bit of an idea what you think about the project you were assigned and what role you would like perform in it. Don’t insist that you do something, but suggest that you would feel comfortable taking a certain role, but are open to the group input and what they would like to do.

So, when you are first meeting your group, if you’ve done some footwork ahead of time you should be able to ease nicely into the relationships. You should give them some more of your contact info, let them know when you are available and what you would like to do in the course of the project. Good luck with your online university group work. It can be very rewarding if you let it.

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