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Facebook ™: Engagement for transition and retention beyond the curriculum

Martin-Lynch, P. (2009) Facebook ™: Engagement for transition and retention beyond the curriculum. In: 12th Pacific Rim First Year in Higher Education (FYHE) Conference (2009), 29 June - 1 July 2009, Brisbane, Australia



To plan for the future, we need to take account of emerging trends and find innovative ways to utilise them to engage students beyond the curriculum. In the rapidly changing world of technological enablements, online communities offer an opportunity to engage with students via a medium that many are already comfortable using. Research in socio-linguistically based cultural studies (Thompson, 1984) suggests that establishing a communicative context, which enables the participants to feel on a level playing field, that is, away from the institutional constraints, can elicit a more open exchange of information. This paper suggests that this leads to a greater engagement with students and offers the potential to intervene in ‘at risk’ cases. In 2008, Murdoch University trialled using Facebook™ as a means of engaging with new students, with some interesting and surprising outcomes. This paper will discuss some of the outcomes, the potential and analyse some of the theoretical underpinnings, which prompted our decision to experiment with online communities outside of the university structure.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Student Learning Centre
Conference Website:
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