Entering Their World: Using Social Media to Support Students in Modern Times
Modern technology-rich environments provide a variety of tools with various types of capabilities that can support student success at the tertiary level. While university-supported learning platforms such as Moodle typically support this academic purpose, social networking sites such as Facebook can also be used within university studies to support student success. One cohort of students and their academic mentor at the University of Wollongong (UOW) in New South Wales, Australia were connected together through a Facebook group. The aim of this Facebook group was to provide support to a group of students transitioning into university study, and into a Bachelor of Primary Education (BPrimEd) degree after successfully completing one full year of university study. Using free access social media software rather than a prescribed licensed program for this purpose provided a platform on which the cohort could access support from their peers and university staff, and generate a community of learners. This chapter details a 'Students as Partners in Research' project that investigated how the Bachelor of Social Sciences: Education for Change (BSSE4C) Facebook group was used by its members to support and encourage the cohort through their first year of university studies, and support their journey into a BPrimEd degree. It has been co-authored by some of the students and university academics involved, and reflects our collective work on this project.