Insights from using a subject specific Facebook group for student engagement and learning

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Conference Proceeding
6th Research in Engineering Education Symposium: Translating Research into Practice, REES 2015, 2015
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Although discussion boards have been available in the Learning Management System (LMS) for several years, they have not served well as a means of extending student engagement outside class time. The social media site Facebook was incorporated into an Engineering Mechanics class with the aim of increasing subject specific student engagement. This paper reports a small preliminary study exploring the effect of the introduction of the Facebook group. These students found the Facebook group increased the frequency of their engagement with the subject material compared to other subjects, and they considered it valuable because almost all students and the instructor were involved. However, students emphasised that the Facebook group was a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the face-to-face lecture and tutorial sessions. This study confirmed the value of undertaking focus groups with students to assist interpretation of data collected by more objective methods such as social network analysis.
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