Will I Ever Meet My Online MBA Professors or Classmates?
Considering that as an online MBA student your classroom has a Web address and not a street address, you aren’t likely to run into one of your classmates at the library or bump into your professor in the hall. One of the primary characteristics of online education is that you can be enrolled in the same program and working toward the exact same degree as someone else but still be hundreds of miles away from them. Your professors may be instructing you from an entirely different state and your classmates may be spread out all across the country, and sometimes even across multiple countries. Thankfully, technology is making the world a smaller place, and just because your classmate or professor is located in a different city doesn’t mean that you won’t ever have the opportunity to meet them in some way, shape, or form.
Some programs may allow for more interaction that others but most utilize Web applications like chat rooms, discussion boards, e-mail, and even video for communication purposes. For example, a professor may conduct a class discussion through a private chat room or have students provide lesson feedback on an online discussion board. If there is a project that two or more students are working on they can utilize a virtual group conference room to discuss specifications and requirements. And when you need clarification on a specific theory or concept, you might have the option to schedule a video chat meeting with your professor. As an independent learner you may feel as if you are alone from time to time, but most programs are designed to make sure that communication is a key component. In fact, you may even end up interacting more with professors and classmates online than you would have were you all in the same room.
There are many types of online MBA programs some of which may require you to get to know your classmates better than others. Online MBA programs that adhere to a cohort structure require students to take courses in a lock-step format according to set sequence. Students who enroll in the program at the same time take classes as a group, move through the program together, and eventually graduate at the same time. Other online MBA programs may allow for more flexibility, giving each student the freedom to take courses at their own convenience and finish the program on their own schedule. While you may be required to interact regularly and therefore get to know classmates while in one course, you may not all enroll in the next course at the same time. Some online MBA programs may have opportunities for students to meet fellow classmates and professors in person through program orientations, optional seminars, campus visits, and even the opportunity to participate in a commencement ceremony upon completion.