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How to Stay Engaged While Studying Online

How to Stay Engaged While Studying Online main image

Online learning offers a number of benefits when studying for your MBA. Remote learning is flexible, it is often substantially cheaper than in-person programs, and you can develop great self-discipline.

Of course, there can be some challenges too. As online learning is usually semi-anonymous by nature and scheduling is asynchronous, you may sometimes feel more isolated or unable to connect with your peers compared to in-person programs.

However, online learning is here to stay (and with good reason). Technology continues to advance, making remote learning even easier and more finessed.

As an online MBA student, let’s take a look at how you can ensure you stay connected to your peers and professors and maintain a high level of engagement.

Build a community

With online programs, feeling part of a community can sometimes be difficult without face-to-face interaction and communication.

To ensure you get the most of your learning experience, why not make the most of online platforms like Zoom, Teams, or Skype to discuss the course and assignments, get in touch with your professor, or just generally get to know the people you’re sharing this online learning experience with.

If your course is asynchronous – which is normal in online learning – you can use discussion forums to interact with your peers, ask your professor to oversee peer essay reviews and workshops, or simply utilize the business school’s course management software tools to work in groups efficiently.

If you feel a part of a community at b-school, you’ll ultimately feel more engaged, motivated and invested in the program.

Network frequently

One of the most notable benefits of an MBA program is the possibility of building life-long networks through group work, classroom sessions and intense socializing.

For a long time, people thought the appeal of doing an MBA course remotely came with limitations – but with technological advances, carefully curated programs, and changing cultural habits, online MBAs are so much more attractive.

For example, Professor Ramesh Venkataraman, chair of direct MBA and MS programs at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, uses virtual “breakout rooms”, where students are able to hold small group discussions in real time and make notes in Google documents that can be tracked systematically and shared with others.

Don’t forget, although you’re on an online MBA program, networking with professors and classmates is still crucial. After all, your classmates may know people who will be able to help you get on the career ladder after you’ve finished your online program.

You can also utilize the career services available at your business school, where you can connect with alumni, who can offer introductions with other professionals.

Let’s not forget that ‘your network is your net worth’ – utilize those online connections!

Utilize videos in your projects

Visual learning and techniques can truly add value and depth to any MBA program.

For example, if you are working on a brand management assignment, you and your teammates could create a video to bring your product to life, and also enable you to work as a team virtually.

This personal approach to learning allows you to take control of your studies and tailor your learning experience too – meaning you’ll feel more engaged and motivated and the program will feel even more relevant. By interacting with your peers, this will further set you up for your future career in the business world.

Create a student-centered environment

Student-to-student interaction and faculty-to-student interaction are essential to the success of online programs – and there are a number of ways you can achieve this.

Always be collaborative in your work even if you are only working online. You can utilize discussion platforms like forums to truly get to know your peers and discuss class content.

Online MBA programs offer you so much more than just a degree – you will benefit in so many ways. Collaborate with your peers, create a sense of belonging with like-minded people, and you’ll see the possibilities associated with your degree soar.

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Niamh Ollerton, Deputy Head of Content at QS
Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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