Networking in a traditional classroom might include going up to your professor after class to ask a question. Or chatting with your classmates about the course material and agreeing to meet-up outside of class. Networking looks different for online learning, and there are many advantages to connecting with your Berklee Online classmates and instructors that make expanding your professional network easier. While professional relationships may be created in-person, they are fostered and kept-up online. Starting your professional relationship online only expedites the process!
If you’re a Berklee Online student interested in building your professional network virtually, here are some tips:
Use the Meet and Greet Features
The first week of every Berklee Online course begins with a Meet and Greet. It’s important that you take advantage of this feature so that you can tell the class about yourself, including your experience and your goals, and learn about your classmates and instructor as well. Be intentional about what you want to include in your introduction. What valuable information do you want to share about yourself so that others could connect with you? It could be as simple as stating the cities that you’re from and where you are currently located, or could be related to your career goals in a specific area. Watch all of the posts (or videos) in the Meet and Greet and look for what your classmates share that align with you and your goals. You could meet a collaborator, a future co-worker, a friend, or all of the above.
Attend Your Live Class Sessions
It’s really important to get that face time with your instructor and with your classmates. During the weekly Live Class sessions, you’ll have the opportunity to ask your instructor questions in real time, see who is in your class, and learn from your classmates’ questions. While this time is intended to go over the week’s material, oftentimes it evolves into a more casual conversation about the course’s topic where the class builds camaraderie. These video chat interactions are crucial for building professional (and personal) relationships with your instructors and classmates. Be sure to speak up!
Comment on Your Classmates’ Discussion Posts
Each lesson in a Berklee Online course has discussion questions designed to help you think critically about the material. Some courses require that you respond to your classmates’ post, but some do not. Regardless of whether or not it’s required, take the time to read or listen to your classmates’ responses. They’ll appreciate your thoughtful and constructive feedback and this could be a great jumping off point for engaging further. If you notice a peer continuously posting things that resonate with you, reach out to them! Ask if they want to set up a one-on-one call.
Direct Message Your Classmates
Once you start engaging with your classmates through Meet and Greets, Live Class sessions, and discussion posts, you have the ability to direct message them through the chat function within your course. Here you can pick up your conversations in a one-on-one setting, share your work, or even make plans to work together outside of class.
Embrace Your Berklee-wide Connections
When you become a Berklee Online student, you are joining the same international cohort who attend Berklee’s Boston campus, the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, the campus in Valencia, Spain, and BerkleeNYC. Your Berklee connection is the ultimate ice-breaker for any cold email, social media message, or in-person interaction.
Attend Berklee Online’s Live Q&A Sessions
These biweekly live Q&A sessions are hosted by Berklee Online advisors, and not only are they a great way to connect with advisors themselves, but you can also connect with Berklee’s faculty, alumni, and leadership, as well as Berklee Online students outside of your study area.
Sign up for the Mentor Collective
The Mentor Collective at Berklee Online is the opportunity for degree students to be matched with a personal mentor in the Berklee community. This could be an alum or current student further along in the program, and the match will be based on common academic interests, career goals, life challenges, and experiences. You also have the opportunity to sign up to mentor other students if you would like to offer your time and expertise to help your fellow students.
Tap into Structured Networking Opportunities
There are also plenty of online opportunities to meet people through the Berklee campus. Check out what online lectures, conferences, and live sessions are happening.
Don’t Wait to Connect
Don’t wait to start making connections with your classmates. You may not realize it at the time, but the 12-week period that you are taking a Berklee Online course is a unique experience, and those weeks fly by. You will likely never be in the exact same scenario again with the same people, studying a particular topic. This is why you need to build your connections within those 12 weeks, and make sure you have contact information before the course is over. If you wait too long, you might find yourself having to explain who you are and how you met a particular person, and they might not remember you. By staying engaged, you’ll map out a rich future for yourself among a community of inspiring musicians.
The tips were gathered by Academic Advisor Freesia Towle and collective contributions are from advisors Maggie Atwater, Brian Choi, Mark Hopkins, Mike McGlone, Lauren Stegner, Molli Swiatek, Patrick Waltman, and Eric Zawada.