Online learning
Online learning offers shy university students some respite. Source: ALAIN JOCARD/AFP

Does the thought of speaking up in a crowded classroom fill you with dread and anxiety?

Would you rather lose marks for class participation, but don’t mind going all out in other aspects that contribute to your overall grade, such as online exams and writing assignments

The switch from classroom to online learning might be challenging for those who need noise and a hive of activity to learn. For shier students, however, there’s never a better time to shine.

Speaking to University Business, Vivian Maria Vasquez, a professor in the School of Education at American University, said online learning has created avenues for shier students to participate in class discussions.

She said asynchronous sessions give students more flexibility to engage with the class materials in ways that work best for them, as well as to engage in them at their own pace. Unlike synchronous learning, which is online or distance education that happens in real-time, asynchronous learning is online learning without real-time interaction.

“In asynchronous spaces, they don’t have to find opportunities to enter into a class conversation or discussion, they can simply post when they are able, within the allotted time frame,” Vasquez was quoted saying. 

“They can also touch base with the instructor, or teacher, if they need assistance, prior to posting their work online, which for some students alleviates a sense of vulnerability.”

Here are several other aspects of online learning literally every shy student can relate to:

More time to craft your thoughts

You don’t have to be an introvert to be shy, as the two don’t come hand-in-hand, but shy students will definitely appreciate learning within the comforts of their little cocoons — be it at home or at a cosy spot at your favourite cafe. 

You can participate by chatting and having some time to craft your thoughts, rather than to be put on a spot to answer a question or make a comment on an issue.

It gives shy student a platform to shine

Online learning

Shine … in the written word. Source: ALAIN JOCARD/AFP

Have you ever felt overstimulated by lecturers who throw in tonnes of presentations and discussions during lectures, leaving you feeling like you’ve just completed a marathon at the end of class? 

As a shy student, you might probably relate to how online learning gives you the avenue to take a step back, have a breather, collect your thoughts and participate via chat or by contributing to a shared Google docs of your ideas, giving you a platform to shine by sharing your thoughts in a non-threatening manner.

It gives you a break from pretending to be an extrovert

Some shy folk still force themselves to speak up during class discussions and meetings because they understand the importance of being heard. 

But online learning presents an opportunity for shy students to take a step back and communicate in a way that they prefer, such as via chat or a class discussion board.

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