Online Students Should Be Active On Campus

Jacqueline Mendez/Contributing Writer

Despite being one of 57,000, the odds of a student finding their niche is guaranteed at FIU. With sites like Panther Connect enabling students to find clubs interests, there’s no reason any one student couldn’t find their place. But what about the students attending from their homes, online—should they participate on campus?  

Assuming it’s both practical and desirable for online students, the answer to the question is an obvious yes: degrees alone don’t contribute to a student’s employability.

The importance of students building their resumes is undeniable; the student debt crisis is in full swing and many recent college graduates are struggling to find work. Part of the reason for the latter is that most employers are looking for relevant experience, not a particular degree. FIU has been proactive about this, as evidenced by their investment in networking and career development programs through the Career and Talent Development department.

For online students, there’s Handshake, but the platform is limited to connecting you with potential employers. Plus, the site doesn’t teach you how to network with colleagues, a vital skill in job search and career advancement.

As for the students who want to participate and are unable to visit campus, there is an alternative option. The University is currently piloting a site that enables online students to connect to digital versions of on-campus resources called the Panther Den. FIU Online has also implemented a number of programs aimed at increasing the connectivity of their students to the University.

But there doesn’t seem to be an alternative for students connecting to one another through clubs or personal interest. As of now, a number of online students have taken this initiative through social media sites like Reddit. Even so, these are few and far between.

It would be in the University’s best interest to develop an extension of the Panther Den that would enable students to form clubs whose meetings could be attended remotely, as well as form message boards that would enable them to network. These memberships can not only be a vital addition to a student’s resume, but to your college experience as well.

Of course, online students may have little or no interest in on-campus participation; while this is to their detriment, it’s ultimately their choice to supplement their experience with worthwhile activities. Either way, they pay fees like on-campus students—namely, the athletic fee—so if not for the enhancement of their education, online students should participate on campus to make the most of their dollar. 

With the investments FIU has made to create employable graduates, a community for online students should be a University-wide initiative, not to mention a common sense move. 

Featured photo by Karolina Grabowska on Wikicommons.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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