Being in classes online is hard. From other posts I've written, you know that it's been a struggle for me to balance life and schoolwork and it can be difficult to be disciplined enough to sit down at my computer and work when there are other things I want to be doing.
There are times though, when I do what I should be doing, and I sit down to do my work and things just don't work out. This past week, I got a migraine on Sunday, which is the day that get down to business and write my paper for the week. I had to send my professor an e-mail explaining the situation and asking for an extension. We got into a discussion about integrity and it got me to thinking about what integrity looks like in this online class format.
In a regular classroom setting, you see your professors at least once a week, forming relationships through class discussions and quick dialogue after everyone is let out. You can go to office hours, you can meet for extra help, etc. Professors get to know you, your study habits, and your work ethic through personal interaction. In an online setting, the same is not true. Most communication is through e-mail or the occasional phone call and any relationship is formed through online words.
This can make it really hard for your professor to learn the type of person you are. In my undergrad experience, we had the chance to get to know the people we were learning from. After four years of classes together, teachers knew that I am the type of student who can be trusted, who gets the things done that she says she will, and who turns in quality work on time. If it's not on time, I have a good, honest excuse. In this HESPA format, the same cannot be said for that type of relationship.
With just a few months left, I'm learning that it's important to show integrity from the beginning of every class. With courses that are only 5 weeks long, I need to make a positive impression from the start so that professors know that I am a good person, and consequently, a good student. Online classes make the accessibility of grad school easier, but it takes effort to be a good, dependable online student. I want to put in that effort and make an online impression that I can be proud of.