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Phoenix Forward magazine

5 ways to connect with fellow students

Connect with other students

Just because you aren’t in a college classroom every day doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of opportunities to connect with other University of Phoenix students while getting your online degree.

“Developing relationships with fellow students is an important part of any education,” says Heath Boice-Pardee, an online instructor for the University of Phoenix School of Advanced Studies and doctoral community manager of the PhoenixConnect® academic social network.

Here, he suggests five ways for students to connect with each other:

Take advantage of student resources.

Each local campus has a student resource center that’s open to every University student whether they’re getting an online or on-campus education.

“Resource centers are equipped with desks, computers, printers and Internet access, and many have extended hours,” says Joel Maier, MS, associate director of academic affairs at the Phoenix Main Campus and an instructor in the MBA program.

Students also may use meetings rooms to collaborate on projects or homework assignments.

Communicate via the PhoenixConnect system.

The University’s academic social network can connect you with more than 1 million students and instructors. “Think Facebook®, only for faculty, staff and students, which is broken up into different communities according to disciplines,” says Boice-Pardee, who holds a doctorate in education.

“Students post anything and everything from posing questions about a microbiology assignment,” he notes, to asking for comments on specific current events.

He cautions that everyone at the University can see what you post, not just your friends, “so you should be careful to represent yourself in a professional manner and use language that isn’t offensive to others.”

Lean on your learning team.

In most classes, you’ll work in learning teams to collaborate with other students on certain assignments outside of class time. Boice-Pardee suggests taking this opportunity to develop relationships, learn from fellow classmates’ life experiences and get to know their strengths and weaknesses.

“Don’t be afraid to voice your ideas, but be careful to respect one another,” Boice-Pardee recommends. “And make sure everyone’s perspective is heard.”

Join a campus club.

A number of clubs hold regular meetings on campus. Maier is a faculty advisor for the Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society chapter at the Phoenix Main Campus, for example. The student-run group for business students gathers monthly for networking or to do fundraising.

“Each chapter functions differently, depending on the students running it,” Maier points out. Other local campus clubs may include psychology, for those studying counseling; dissertation support groups for doctoral candidates; and associations specifically for women.


Make connections on social media.

If you’re an online student, a LinkedIn® account is a great way to network with other students in your area. “When you take a virtual class, you may be in class with people from across the country, but on LinkedIn user groups, you can locate students in your region and begin making connections.” Maier says.

Boice-Pardee also recommends the University Facebook page to discuss student-related topics, as well as the University Twitter® network to follow University students who are interested in similar subjects. 

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