In the online learning environment, you may be exposed to more constructive criticism than you have at any point in your career. Your classmates are required to comment on your assignments and thoughts, just as you are on theirs. At first blush, this situation may be difficult to stomach. You may feel like you, personally, are under attack, and it’s tempting to become defensive. You worked hard to put the assignment or thoughts together. Can’t your fellow students understand that? Perhaps it’s not that your classmates are too critical, but that you need to change your frame of mind.
As the recipient of constructive criticism, it’s important to remember that your colleagues aren’t attacking you, and you need to separate yourself from the work. The goal of having your colleagues comment on your work is not to tear you apart, but rather to provide you with feedback that will help you become a better student. Constructive criticism, when given effectively, can improve your work and ensure that you’re seeing the whole picture of the assignment.
In a traditional classroom, it’s easy to become complacent. Many classes don’t require participation, and what usually happens is that the same two to three people offer their thoughts in each class. Online learning requires that you remain engaged in the subject, and collaboration from your colleagues reinforces the instructor’s lecture.
It’s tempting to look at your colleagues’ feedback as a curse, but if you understand why you’re receiving it, you’ll find that it’s actually more of a blessing.