Online students rarely get an opportunity to meet in person, but that does not mean strong relationships cannot be built in the online classroom. Starting in the first few weeks of school, when you log in and see the same familiar names reading and commenting on your discussion posts, you will start to feel a connection. The weekly discussions force online learners to reveal more about themselves. As many of your classmates are adult learners with years of professional experience, you will find two (or three, or four) heads are better than one when navigating the online format. Here is how an online study buddy can help get you through school:

  1. A second pair of eyes. The Global Campus Writing Center offers a number of proofreading tools to students, tools that can improve the quality of your work and help you avoid unintentional plagiarism. However, your paper can always benefit from a peer review. When your eyes are tired of looking at a computer, your study buddy can proofread your paper, check it against the instructional guidelines, and point to anything you might have missed.

  2. Serve as a lookout. Online students, especially adult learners, lead busy lives. Deadlines can sneak up on you no matter how much preparation you put into the school week. You and your study buddy can take turns on “lookout duty,” watching not just the current week’s deadlines but also taking a glimpse at what is ahead on the calendar. This way you will know whether a future week’s assignment is going to require more than just a few days of preparation.

  3. Get the conversation going. Sometimes your posts in the discussion board may not be very persuasive or detailed. With so much riding on class participation, you need someone to ask questions and compel you to reveal more about what you are trying to say. A study buddy can be a reliable source for getting things going, and together you can bring more of your peers into the conversation.

  4. Be a subject-matter expert. Experience matters in the online classroom, and you will find there is much to be learned from seasoned professionals who have been there, done that. Take alum Myra Kellum, for example. A 20-year veteran of law enforcement, she returned to school to earn her Bachelor of Arts in Law Enforcement Administration. As a student, Myra was able to bring her years of experience to every discussion and provide the unique viewpoint that only working professionals can. Now imagine having a classmate like Myra and how you could both benefit from becoming study buddies.

  5. Motivation when the going gets tough. Without a doubt, one of the greatest benefits of an online study buddy is having someone to lean on and push you when you are at your lowest points. Your education is too important to walk away from in a moment of frustration, and many students feel the pressure during the first few weeks of school.

“This time is a pinnacle period of adjustment, students must learn not only the basics of our online classroom but they are tasked with learning how to fit school into their busy lives,” said Reina Reyes, a member of Ashford University’s Readiness Advisor team.

Forming a relationship with a study buddy in these early weeks can greatly improve your chances of success, and your study buddy’s as well. Any success or failure can feel extreme, according to Reyes, so having someone there who is going through the same experience can help you put things into perspective.

Creating online relationships may take time, so start in the first week of class. You will all be required to post an introduction, so make yours something others will want to read and get to know your classmates. After all, you are in this together.

Written by University Staff

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