Studying with an online university can really be a terrific experience. You gain skills and knowledge that allow you to improve your life circumstances, all the while enjoying the best elements of distance learning - flexibility, convenience, a modicum of self-direction. The asynchronous learning environment that most online university curricula employ means you're study and class participation is largely up to you.
This autonomy and flexibility can sometimes leave you feeling a bit like Robinson Crusoe. A potential downside of online distance higher education is a sense of isolation. You're stuck on a math problem, or you're having trouble articulating a point in an essay, and you feel like you have no one to turn to for help. Though online university instructors make themselves available to student when precisely these issues, the absence of face-to-face contact you can sometimes feel quite poignantly.
To overcome this feeling of isolation, it's smart to take page from the playbook of your traditional residential college counterparts. A common feature of university life is the study group, a collection of students in a particular course who band together to help each other study and to prepare for exams.
In addition to the support in terms of coursework, however, members of study groups offer each other emotional and pyschological support. The sense of having cast a common lot (enrolling in Professor So-and-So's course) encourages a real spirit of camaraderie to develop. Members boost each others morale at those times when it should happen to sag, exchange study hints, share observations about the tenor of the class, and so on.
Of course, traditional residential university students enjoy over you, a distance learner, the distinct advantage of physical presence. They can get their groups together and meet with relative ease. But knowing this shouldn't discourage you; you can easily compensate for a lack of physical presence by putting to work the very resources that enable you to take online university courses in the first place. A little bit of practical thinking can take you a long way toward putting together an online study group that can prove as useful as those students at traditional schools join.
When it comes to putting together an online study group, all you need do is follow some simple advice. Specifically, you should be sure to:
As should be clear to you by now, putting together an online study group is only difficult if you make it so. Whether you're studying history or horticulture, knowing how to start an online study group can bring you quite a way toward earning that "A" you've been hoping for.