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One advantage of taking an online class is having the flexibility of taking the class in your living room, but one of the disadvantages is not meeting your instructor or classmates face to face. The peer-to-peer and instructor-student interaction can add significantly to a college education and experience, so how does a cyber-student gain such a perspective?
What about the instructor? If you live within easy driving distance from the college or where the professor's office is, schedule a teacher-student conference to get you both acquainted and give you an idea who the professor is, their personality, and their expectations. Ask for feedback from the instructor and constantly keep an open form of dialogue going. If you're feeling daring, invite the instructor to a study session so he/she can place a face with those email addresses. This also tells the instructor you are there to learn and are taking the initiative to make yourself known.