When you attend an online college or university, social networks and online study groups offer you ways to interact with your fellow students and make friendships with people hundreds or even thousands of miles away. They're also the key to getting good grades, according to a study just published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.*
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) recently analyzed 80,000 interactions between 290 students in a collaborative college course. The researchers discovered:
- The more interactions students have online, the better grades they tend to earn.
- High achievers are more likely to form strong connections and exchange information in more complex ways.
- High achievers also tend to form cliques, shutting out low-performing students.
- Top students tend to form peer groups quickly, usually within the first day or so of class.
Although the UCSD researchers could not find a direct cause and effect between online social interactions and good grades, they did say there was a strong -- 72 percent -- correlation between the two.
Lessons we can take from this study include:
- If you're going to study online, don't do it alone. Form online study groups and join social networks.
- Form your study groups early. Seek out high achievers and bond with them.
- Even if you're "shut out" of one group, you should try to form another with other students in your same position. There is strength in numbers.
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