|This presentation will discuss the use of Facebook to engage on-campus students for continuous learning in sports conditioning, sports marketing and promotion units.
Since our increased use of the online learning environment in teaching and learning, on-campus lectures are becoming less frequently attended and experience shows that students are engaging more superficially with the resources provided to support learning. On the other hand, informal learning strategies have increasingly become integral to the learning experiences within contemporary higher education environments. One study found that using Facebook may add to traditional e-learning tools, and deliver content that is integrated with technology applications familiar to students (Irwin, Ball, Desbrow, & Leveritt, 2012).
Our decision to use Facebook was aimed at addressing the evidently poor level of student engagement, through adoption of the very technology that students themselves prefer to use. To develop a system of continuous engagement within and across units of study, students were alerted by Facebook notifications to new visual content available to them in a continuous way. This ongoing trickle of information guarded against the experience of overload at the start of semester when students typically tend to receive a high volume of content and resources all at once.
For many students their challenge comes once they have gained some basic understanding of the discipline and they must interpret and apply their newly found knowledge and understanding to a practical context. The opportunity to gain such practical understanding does not readily fit within most undergraduate degrees and so the student will graduate with a solid theoretical base but with limited practical understanding. To this end, social media platforms such as Facebook may help to develop practical, evidence-based understanding through industry-specific case study material and via peer interaction and inquiry.
Supplementary content was provided using Facebook across three undergraduate units of study during the past two years. This innovation was intended to add value to the learning experience by extending students’ understanding and engagement with each study topic. The format of extra learning resources, the regularity with which they were provided, and the persistence of student engagement, were investigated using a focus group interview and survey. Six students enrolled in units utilizing the Facebook strategy, agreed to participate in the focus group to explore the suitability of survey questions, their face validity and clarity. Themes arising from the focus group transcript were incorporated into a draft survey. An academic from the Teaching and Learning Centre independently reviewed and provided critical input to the draft survey questions. As a result of both student and staff input, minor edits were made prior to survey use.
Data was collected from a total of 48 (16.7%) respondents from a sample population of 287 enrolled across three units; some students were enrolled in multiple units. Detailed results of the survey will be presented. Conclusions about the use of Facebook to enhance student engagement in this case will be outlined for discussion.
Irwin, C., Ball, L., Desbrow, B., & Leveritt, M. (2012). Students’ perceptions of using Facebook as an interactive learning resource at university. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 28(7), 1221-1232.
|Affiliation||Southern Cross University|