'In it together'

“In it together”: Staff-Student Facebook groups promote collaborative learning and formation of a cohort identity

  • Vanessa Parson
  • Hannah Bain

Abstract

Facebook has the potential to be used as an educational tool that supports the formation of a cohort identity, improving engagement which can potentially positively impact on retention and performance. An in-house initiative created staff-maintained Facebook groups for each cohort within the Psychology suite of programmes, utilising staff engagement to add an additional learning resource for students during the duration of their course. The groups were positively received by 99% of students, showing that students immensely valued the additional learning resource available to them. Thematic analysis revealed key positive themes sense of community and support, ease of communication and the breaking down of barriers between staff and students; key negative themes involved concern around the potential for students to miss out on a valuable resource. The staff-maintained Facebook groups achieved their aim of creating a socially-oriented learning space that fostered a sense of community and cohort identity; the groups have been integrated into the permanent provision within the School of Psychology. This type of initiative has the potential to improve engagement, performance and retention in a world where blended learning is increasingly utilised.

Published
2021-07-18