(Session) Effective use of Facebook tutorials

Kathy Mouat (School of Marketing, Tourism & Languages) and students in the Facebook group (attending virtually)

I delivered a hybrid level 8 module that covers both Marketing Research and Communication. A closed Facebook group was used (alongside Moodle) to communicate messages and resources for the duration of the module. Two tutorials were also delivered virtually via Facebook.

The tutorials ran in real time, at the same time as the timetabled tutorial. A task was set for the first tutorial ‘to find secondary data about me (Kathy Mouat), using the web and not paying for any information’.

Having already used Facebook as a useful tool to improve programme identity, it is recognised that social networks should be used in the area of education (Joly, 2007 cited in Cam & Isman, 2013).

This experience enabled me to practice a different pedagogy, hopefully in the best interest of students (Hew, 2011).

Digital literacy is critical to the development of UK further and higher education as digital technologies provide new opportunities to enhance teaching, learning, research and the management of organisations (JISC, 2014).

The module/tutorial group was 22 students; I chose topics that I thought would work well without face to face interaction and students are used to communicating using Facebook (Selwyn, 2007; Bumgarner, 2007)

  • Students contributed more to discussions than face to face; in the first tutorial there were more than 200 pieces of communication in the hour.
  • Students felt less pressure when making comments
  • Students weren’t afraid to ‘speak’, especially if they were a bit unsure about what they were saying and English wasn’t their first language.

Interactive element to workshop
Students from the module will be ‘attending’ the workshop via Facebook from wherever they happen to be (depending on the timing of flights/access to Wi-Fi in Italy etc.)

The presentation will be posted, along with a couple of questions, to the Facebook group just before presenting it in the workshop. Students will then comment on the presentation whilst I am presenting. Workshop attendees can then have a discussion with the students via me/Facebook in real time.

The Future?
Petrovic et al. (2012) suggest that the use of Facebook groups as a supplement to traditional e-learning is explored. Their data suggests that students would use Facebook as a good medium not only for communication but for a broader engagement in the process of learning.

It would be useful to trial Facebook discussions with a postgraduate class, where a higher proportion of students have English as their second language.

Theoretical underpinning
Bumgarner, B.A. (2007) ‘You have been poked: exploring the uses and gratifications of Facebook among emerging adults’. First Monday. 22(11)

Cam, E. and Isman, A (2013) ‘Teacher candidates’ use of facebook for educational purposes’. Social and Behavioural Sciences. 106 pp2500-2506

Hew, K. F., (2011) ‘Students’ and Teachers’ use of Facebook’. Computers in Human Behavior. 27, pp662-676.

JISC (2014) Developing Digital Literacies

Petrovic, N., Petrovic, D., Jeremic, V., Milenkovic, N., Cirovic, M. (2012) Possible Educational Use of Facebook in Higher Education. ICICTE 2012 Proceedings.

Selwyn, N. (2007). Screw blackboard … do it on Facebook! An investigation of students’ educational use of Facebook. Presented at the “Poke 1.0 – Facebook Social Research Symposium,” University of London.

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