schedule an appointment


How to Build Connections with Classmates Through Technology

When considering an online educational program, many of you may wonder: How will I interact with my fellow students? I shared the same concern when I was researching different communication master’s degree programs. The answer is technology!

Using Technology to Collaborate with Fellow Classmates

Technology is not bound by space or time, and breaks through international boundaries. You can log into your course at midnight in your pajamas and converse with a student from Vietnam or a communications instructor from Belgium (I actually communicated frequently like this). The use of technology blurs traditional discourse because it allows you to network globally at a more convenient, much faster pace.

Digital interaction makes connecting with your classmates simple. This new cyber-culture has increased the frequency, reach and speed of communication. The online format is more conducive to in-depth discussions, and is more optimal toward student-centered learning. I found that it was easier to interact with multiple students from diverse backgrounds simultaneously in a written online format. Formal guidance from the instructor helps to make the class run smoothly each week.

Incorporating Technology with a MS in Communications Program

How does Purdue University incorporate technology so that you can be successful in your online communication master's program? Students benefit from online interactivity mainly through the use of discussion boards. Reading other classmates’ responses to the weekly readings on the discussion boards gave me an opportunity to combine similar viewpoints and come up with a generalized theory, or to challenge their thinking from perspectives from the textbook literature. It was inspiring to read others’ perspectives on the same topic, and to share insights from my own experiences. It can be very intellectually stimulating to push beyond traditional thinking boundaries, and practice reflexive theorizing on your own. Other ways that I interacted with my classmates were through online collaborative documents, group chat rooms, skype, email and text.

Preparing for a Career in Communications

All of this practice within the online classroom will prepare you for a career in Communications, where technology is used on a daily basis to interact with consumers, organizations and the media. With the introduction of the Internet and constantly changing technology, today’s communicators need to be very savvy in trying to connect with others. Because of this digital landscape, we live in a global and virtual world every day. We have direct access to information immediately, and this affects both interpersonal and organization-consumer relationships. People form alliances at a much faster rate because of new media, so it is important that organizations realize that this nontraditional channel can have benefits in increasing their brand attitude, which will ultimately lead to financial gains. Marketers today must realize what communication strategy to implement because communication is much more complex and interactive than it was in the past. The online MS in Communication will give you the latest knowledge in how to accomplish those goals so that you can be successful in your career.

I hope that technological integration continues within the online classroom setting, and that innovative applications will be expanded upon to enhance digital learning and student connectivity. As a Purdue online student, you will enjoy the interactive communication with your fellow classmates, which helps to build closer educational relationships. I think that the use of technology within distance learning is not only necessary, but it enhances how social you can be with your peers as well!

Discover how technology impacts online learning and learn more about a Master of Science in Communication program with Purdue University online. Request more information or call 877-497-5851.

About the Author
Joni Bertrand is a communications professional with 23 years of experience in marketing, advertising, public relations, fundraising management, product development, financial planning and business consulting.
She has earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University in Marketing and Merchandising, and is in her final semester at Purdue University working toward completion of a Master of Science in Strategic Communication.
Joni has held several executive management positions within the corporate retail industry, and has extensive experience in leadership roles within campaign/project management, human resource coordination and educational curriculum development with numerous nonprofit organizations. She is an academic tutor to middle school, high school and college students; is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, and serves on a few professional
boards of directors. Joni is a frequent writer for industry publications, as well as corporate and school newsletters. Her research interests include ethical communication, corporate crisis management and educational leadership.
In her free time, Joni enjoys photography, traveling, writing and cheering on her three kids in their athletic achievements. Fun Fact: Because of her Dutch heritage, she can actually “tip toe through the tulips” and dance in wooden shoes!

*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.