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Online Courses and Relationships with Professors

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deleted1040417

How can one go about developing a strong relationship with professors with coursework going online in the fall? Has anyone ever requested an LoR from an online professor/developed a strong connection?

P.S. I often fail to ask questions, because I'm the type of person to find everything online/in the textbook rather than bother the professor. Any advice on this as well would be greatly appreciated.
 

patnic511

Full Member
May 12, 2020
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I would recommend asking your advisors beforehand how many students are often enrolled in each course. If possible, try to go for online classes with around 30 students rather than 500. For one of my smaller online classes, I tried to make meaningful contributions (asking questions, answering professor's questions, making relevant points) at each class. Make sure to prepare well beforehand so you have a good idea already of what you'll be going over in that class. Also, there are discussion boards, and one of my online professors really urged us to use them to post questions or research/articles related to the class. It helps spark a discussion and show that you're engaged. After exams, even if I scored very well, I would ask to review the exam with the professor so I could learn about the few that I missed and understand why.
 
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jhmmd

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Apr 28, 2020
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Amino Base said:
Breakfast: omelette w/spinach, white onions, purple onions, and green peppers, sweet potatoes w/margarine and brown sugar (copyright this w/chives, garlic, and green onions—as well as all permutations), fresh fruit. Mid-morning snack: min spaghetti or two. Lunch: our favorite lunch. Afternoon snack: garbanzo beans and dijon. Dinner: Fettucine alfredo w/extra chicken (copyright 15:47 5/26/2020) (pasta w/cheese sauce), steamed brocolli, fresh fruit, choc. Cliff bar for dessert. Evening snack: 16 piece McNuggets w/bbq sauce/ketchup.
Ask if your professors have online office hours.

In general wouldn't recommend trying to get a LOR from an online class.

Office hours are where it's at.

Sitting in the front row asking polite questions & making good points every now and then helps too.
 
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D

deleted1040417

Just wanted to bump this thread for more input from others. To begin with, I sit near the front in most classes and ask/answer questions here and there without brown-nosing/being a smart aleck, but I just avoid office hours because I don't necessarily ever need them. It's awkward just randomly going into office hours just to say "Hi, my name is ----, this is what I want to do with my life." *Giggles then walk away*. Or faking interest in a professor's life. Whenever I go into review an exam, it's usually just stupid mistakes so I never really need too much clarification either. Class sizes are huge and I can't find too many small classes. Smallest class size I've found recently is 60 students, but she has 3 whole other sections so ~180 students.

I've only gotten to know my organic professor, but that's because they took me on as a TA. I guess I can jump aboard one of my professor's research and make a bond that way (if I find their research studies interesting that is).

One of my peers told me they just did really good in a class, visited a couple times, then asked for an LoR. I feel like that's not a good connection.

It doesn't look like there will be much opportunity to engage with professors in-person not just the Fall, but maybe even the spring. Our institution already announced the Spring will be online the first month. There is a professor that knows me from a previous class (at least I think so, visited office a couple times) with small class size, but she's teaching remotely with exams in-person monitored. Her class sounds pretty interesting though.

EDIT: Kind of makes me realize why everyone had their cameras on during lectures with the professor and were breathing so loud instead of mute. Guess they wanted the professor to see them with their name above their faces.
 
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D

deleted889094

Just wanted to bump this thread for more input from others. To begin with, I sit near the front in most classes and ask/answer questions here and there without brown-nosing/being a smart aleck, but I just avoid office hours because I don't necessarily ever need them. It's awkward just randomly going into office hours just to say "Hi, my name is ----, this is what I want to do with my life." *Giggles then walk away*. Or faking interest in a professor's life. Whenever I go into review an exam, it's usually just stupid mistakes so I never really need too much clarification either. Class sizes are huge and I can't find too many small classes. Smallest class size I've found recently is 60 students, but she has 3 whole other sections so ~180 students.

I've only gotten to know my organic professor, but that's because they took me on as a TA. I guess I can jump aboard one of my professor's research and make a bond that way (if I find their research studies interesting that is).

One of my peers told me they just did really good in a class, visited a couple times, then asked for an LoR. I feel like that's not a good connection.

It doesn't look like there will be much opportunity to engage with professors in-person not just the Fall, but maybe even the spring. Our institution already announced the Spring will be online the first month. There is a professor that knows me from a previous class (at least I think so, visited office a couple times) with small class size, but she's teaching remotely with exams in-person monitored. Her class sounds pretty interesting though.

EDIT: Kind of makes me realize why everyone had their cameras on during lectures with the professor and were breathing so loud instead of mute. Guess they wanted the professor to see them with their name above their faces.
I went to office hours for a calc class every day prior to the second exam. It was the period between that class and another so I figured why not. Sometimes it was just me and the professor. He was happy to run through problems with me and help out however. Come exam time, there were so many students coming in that he had me answer other student's questions, probably because he knew I knew the material. 3 years later I saw him in the grocery store. He sure as heck remembered me and we talked briefly.

That was a class of 500+ that was taught every semester.

I didn't ask for an LOR because I had plenty of other options, but I maintain that office hours are a fantastic way to build a relationship. Teachers want to teach. They like students who are interested. And you will likely do very well in the class if you constantly go to office hours. Even online, I think it'll set you apart from literally all your classmates because almost nobody goes to that many office hours.
 
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jhmmd

supernatural
Apr 28, 2020
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desert highway
Amino Base said:
Just wanted to bump this thread for more input from others. To begin with, I sit near the front in most classes and ask/answer questions here and there without brown-nosing/being a smart aleck, but I just avoid office hours because I don't necessarily ever need them. It's awkward just randomly going into office hours just to say "Hi, my name is ----, this is what I want to do with my life." *Giggles then walk away*. Or faking interest in a professor's life. Whenever I go into review an exam, it's usually just stupid mistakes so I never really need too much clarification either. Class sizes are huge and I can't find too many small classes. Smallest class size I've found recently is 60 students, but she has 3 whole other sections so ~180 students.

I've only gotten to know my organic professor, but that's because they took me on as a TA. I guess I can jump aboard one of my professor's research and make a bond that way (if I find their research studies interesting that is).

One of my peers told me they just did really good in a class, visited a couple times, then asked for an LoR. I feel like that's not a good connection.

It doesn't look like there will be much opportunity to engage with professors in-person not just the Fall, but maybe even the spring. Our institution already announced the Spring will be online the first month. There is a professor that knows me from a previous class (at least I think so, visited office a couple times) with small class size, but she's teaching remotely with exams in-person monitored. Her class sounds pretty interesting though.

EDIT: Kind of makes me realize why everyone had their cameras on during lectures with the professor and were breathing so loud instead of mute. Guess they wanted the professor to see them with their name above their faces.
Good office hours topics of conversation:
1) Things from class that you're interested in (theoretically, you're in college because you want to learn and are interested in your classes/future profession, so you want to know these things)
2) Things you're curious about/want to know more about from class
3) Career guidance

Hope this helps! :) Remember to smile. :)
 
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May 19, 2020
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For what it's worth, I don't generally recommend students get a letter from a professor they've had only one class with (online or not) unless they have no other options. Strong letters are usually built on multiple interactions over time. Try to either take successive courses with the same instructor, or get to know them in other ways than just class (research, campus organizations, etc.).

If we're talking about things for this fall, most "online" classes aren't going to be truly online classes: they're going to be remote. These will be faculty who are used to teaching in person, and will be running remote courses that are largely analogues to the in-person course.

Not to say what I do is the same as all other faculty, but for remote classes I've done drop-in "open door" office hours in Zoom, virtual times for students to work with me or in small groups on problems, and expect students to interact in class (ask questions in person or in chat, etc.). Despite that, I spend lots of hours sitting in front of a camera on Zoom with zero students taking advantage of the time. So if your instructor does something similar, don't be shy! Drop in, ask about the class, careers, get to know them, etc. Most of us don't bite.
 
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