Collaborative Research Circles Extend Learning Beyond the Online Course

In a competitive environment (whether work or academic), there are undoubtedly a host of qualified candidates. Grades and classroom success do not separate these candidates; rather, the differentiating factors lie in professional experience, increased engagement in the discipline, and more insightful letters of recommendation. The issue is not just content knowledge and cognitive skill (although these are undoubtedly important). The challenge is to engage students outside the classroom. The need for extracurricular engagement applies across all delivery modes of higher education. The challenge for online programs is to ensure dedicated attention to developing and promoting the types of extracurricular activities that will allow online students to flourish and compete effectively with their face-to-face counterparts for career and graduate school positions.

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