How does student interaction usually happen with an online course? Do you have to come to campus to interact?
Interaction in a distance learning environment over the internet is actually pretty useful. One way that students worldwide are sometimes brought together is the ever popular bulletin board. Technology like forums and Blackboard allow all students and professors to post thoughts to a central location. Everyone is able to comment on anyone else's thoughts, and discussion is spurred on this way. The benefits of a bulletin board is the increased permanence of fleeting discussion. Posts can be made at anytime a distance learning student likes, and will remain on the board for generally the length of the online class. Another popular method for communication in a distance learning situation is the online chat room. Like a bulletin board, everyone involved in the class can post to this, however a chat room is more often a live experience; students chat in real time with professors and colleagues, just like a discussion in a classroom. Chats require students to be logged on at the same time to communicate. Finally, just because your getting your education online doesn't mean you are restricted to this method. Many students in distance education programs actually contact each other and meet in person for discussion groups or study sessions. This kind of human interaction makes online education more like a traditional setting, and makes it so the classroom is the only virtual part of the experience.
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