In the best classes, the professor isn’t the only one teaching. Students learn from each other. Connecting with classmates and discussing the material is integral for building knowledge. You might be worried that you’ll miss interacting with students if you take an online class, but even though our M.J. programs in Aging, Law and Policy and Healthcare Compliance are conducted virtually, our classes are set up so that students connect every week.
There are two major ways students interact with each other—through discussion boards, and in person conferences.
Both of our online M.J. programs, Aging, Law and Policy and Healthcare Compliance, use discussion boards for class communications and projects. Students and faculty interact on a weekly basis through the online discussion boards and video assignments. Each week, a professor will post a question on the board and students will discuss said topic.
The discussion board provides a place for students to share documents and practice ideas with each other. Because the questions posed by the professors are practical, the students can share their real life experiences as part of answering. The professors monitor the discussion board throughout the week to add new questions, fostering deeper conversations and new perspectives on the topics covered each week.
Group project will occasionally be a part of class assignments as well. These are opportunities similar to the discussion board where students in different areas of expertise can to share and learn from one another. Students also work on soft skills such as leadership, problem solving, relationship building. Also developing the ability to work in a virtual team can be beneficial in a marketplace where more and more work is done across timelines instead of across the table.
A more traditional way students can interact is through conferences. Over the two year program your professors may inform you of conference they will be attending. These are great opportunities to meet your professors and to network with professionals in the field. Also, let your peers know when you are attending a conference. They may already have it on their calendar or have an interest in joining.
The combination of in group meetings and online discussion makes students feel like they aren’t alone in their online classes. They build real relationships with their classmates, and learn from the varying types of students—from seasoned professionals, those looking for a career change, and students fresh from graduate school.