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Get to know people in the digital classroom

A lot of students who study remotely feel like they don’t have anyone to talk to. The digital study environment doesn’t always encourage social interaction and if you don’t have any real-time teaching on top of that, it can feel like an almost impossible project to get to know new people. Even though the study environment in a course depends a lot on the teacher, there are also ways for you as an individual student to facilitate class unity and a healthy climate when you’re studying digitally.

Take initiative in forums outside of the teacher led education 

Start class group chats in Messenger, start discussion threads in Canvas or invite people to study sessions on Zoom. As a student, you have the same access to Zoom as your teachers; you can create your own meeting and invite people to it. You can screenshare or make a whiteboard that you can work on together. Invite your coursemates to gatherings where you discuss the course literature, watch recorded lectures together or just keep each other company while you’re studying. Or invite people to a Zoom-afterwork.

Dare to show yourself

Contribute to a "camera on''-culture. It’s a lot easier to get to know each other if you can see each other. Or upload a picture of yourself on Canvas and write a short presentation. Write messages in the chat, preferably not at the same time as the teacher is talking but perhaps during the break or before the teaching begins, if the room is already open by then. To have your camera turned on during the break can also be a way to show others that you are open for conversation.

Include more people in the conversation

If there’s the option to discuss in the digital classroom, on Canvas or in some other forum – take the initiative to start conversations that you think a lot of people will want to participate in and follow up on other people’s initiatives. Invite everyone and perhaps ask one extra time if you notice that someone is struggling to join the conversation. Be open about it if you don't understand and dare to be the one who asks the “stupid” questions. This will allow other people to dare to ask their own questions and you contribute to an open climate.

Ask the teachers for help

It also lies in the interest of the teachers that the atmosphere in the class is good. Ask the teacher if they can open one or multiple breakout-rooms for voluntary coffee-break chats during the breaks or ask if the teacher can schedule time when people can join an open Zoom-room and for example work with study questions, text feedback or exercises together. It’s often enough if the teacher initiates the work and divides you into break-out rooms and then you can continue by yourselves for as long as it feels constructive.