Online courses may offer unique mentorship opportunities, intimate academic communities
Web-based learners may be interested in minimizing the element of distance inherent to their web-based coursework. They may wonder, in particular, how their experience will approximate that of a traditional classroom. How do classes over the internet replace face-to-face interactions with peers and faculty?
For one, the very nature of web-based learning technology lends itself to personalized instruction. Students may partake in smaller, or even one-on-one discussion groups with faculty. They also have more time to consider their queries and any difficulties they have with the subject matter at hand.
Most online programs offer round-the-clock access to learning resources. Students can communicate with faculty members, who can provide a level of mentorship, individuated support and coaching that would be typically unavailable in brick-and-mortar classes.
At one program based in Indiana, for instance, students meet with their mentors by phone, and have continual contact through chat, e-mail and messages.
Some online enrollees can discuss topics with their peers and build long-term academic relationships. Of the two types of student groups available, they may be part of either a learning community, or a program community. The former offers a space for individuals to collaborate and work in group learning sessions. The latter allows access to constantly updated information on industry research, networking opportunities and news that is pertinent to their field.
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