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I am going back to school!

Updated: Dec 10, 2022

As a future or current student, the virtual classroom will be your office, your laboratory, and your quiet space where you accomplish the goals for which you went back to school.

Your classroom setting in a virtual learning environment says a lot about you and affects your ability to learn in seen and unseen ways. Your virtual classroom environment affects your ability to gain knowledge and to feel comfortable in the industry or field that you have chosen.

There are many things to consider when it comes to creating, fostering, and/or maintaining an appropriate virtual classroom environment. What do you want the space to look and feel like? Even if you are coming into an existing virtual classroom space or creating your own, you have the opportunity to nurture a virtual environment where you feel comfortable and can learn and give your best.

As a future professional, the order in your virtual classroom environment whether at home, in an office, or in any personal setting is vital to your success and completion of your course or program. As a current or future student, you need to first determine what your goals are for your new career.

Once you have determined what your career goals are, you can begin establishing a virtual environment that is conducive to your goals. There are many goals that should be foremost in your mind as you craft your virtual learning environment. These include physical aspects, such as cleanliness, order, and attractiveness (maintaining a clean space is critical in any industry or field, as there are strict laws and standards for hygiene that have to be held). Non-physical aspects, such as feelings of welcome, warmth, and an environment conducive to learning are also as important.

Unlike a traditional school classroom, the physical environment of a virtual classroom for future professionals will not have many decorations. Decorations are used to personalize a space and to represent the identities of the students. However, there are ways for students to feel “at home” in a virtual classroom and industry space without focusing on the home decor end of it all. These include students having their own special tools, including but not limited to, laptops, agendas and notebooks, journals, ink pens (basic and colorful options), stationery items (stapler, paper clips, hole puncher, index cards, etc.), printer/copier/scanner, access to either electronic or hard copy textbooks (both if desired), and a quiet virtual space.

The non-physical aspects are often more critical than the physical aspects when it comes to fostering an effective environment in a virtual classroom setting since you are working independently as a student enrolled in an asynchronous or synchronous learning environment. Therefore, you as the student are primarily responsible for the environment in which you are learning and gaining knowledge to be successful as it relates to an environment conducive to learning.

We will discuss student virtual classroom dynamics later on. However, a note to remember is that you as the student will set the tone for your virtual classroom environment. One way to do this is to set expectations early and refer to them as often as needed in order to maintain the virtual classroom atmosphere. A warm, safe, and organized virtual environment allows students to influence the positive and quality nature of their required educational activities. This allows the student to invest in what they undertake, engage seriously, regulate their behavior, and know the explicit criteria and high expectations of what they are to achieve.

Reach for the glass ceiling! The sky is the limit!

Keep going! You got this!

-Signing off, The Expert Educator

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