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Get to know people in the digital classroom

Many people who are studying remotely feel like they have no one to talk to. The digital teaching environment is not very social and if you have also moved to a new city to study, or are in quarantine, it may feel like it is almost impossible to get to know new people. Although the learning environment on a course is largely dependent on the lecturer, there are also things you can do as an individual to create the atmosphere of being in a class while studying digitally.

Take the initiative to set up forums outside the lecturer-led teaching

Start a class group on Messenger or a study session on Zoom. As a student, you have the same access to Zoom as the teaching staff have; you can create your own meetings and invite others to it. You can share a screen or create a whiteboard that you can work on together. Invite your classmates to meetings where you can discuss the course literature, watch recorded lectures together or just keep each other company while you study. Or set up a Zoom afterwork session.

Dare to show your face

Be part of the "camera on" culture. It is much easier to get to know each other if you can see each other. Or post a picture of yourself on the course platform and write a short presentation if possible. Use the chat function, preferably not while the lecturer is talking, but maybe during the break or before the teaching starts if the meeting is already open. Having the camera on during the break can also be a way to show others that you are open to conversation.

Include others in the conversation

If there is an opportunity for discussion in the digital classroom, on the course platform or in another forum – take the initiative to start conversations that you think others want to be a part of and follow the initiatives of others. Invite everyone and maybe ask one more time if you notice that someone is having a hard time joining the conversation. Be open if you do not understand something and dare to be the person who asks stupid questions. This will contribute to an open atmosphere and others will also dare to ask questions.

Ask the teaching staff for help

It is also in the interest of the teaching staff to have a good atmosphere in the class. Ask the lecturer if they can open one or more breakout rooms for optional chats over coffee during the breaks, or if they can schedule time for an open Zoom room for those who want to work on study questions, text responses or exercises together, for example. Often the teacher just starts off the work and divides the class into group rooms and then you can continue in groups as long as it feels constructive.