Research topic: Can Facebook help engage young people in online learning?
- Is there a link between student interaction in a Facebook group and time spent on Moodle?
- Is there a link between student interaction in a Facebook group and academic achievement?
- Is there a link between student interaction in a Facebook group and student satisfaction with the iScoil?
- Is there a link between student interaction in a Facebook group and student retention?
Why is this important?
It is the weakest factor in iScoil’s teaching model and one that could result in a very positive outcomes in terms of student accreditation and student retention.
Why not use Moodle?
Short bit of iScoil history.
Notschool Ireland -> iScoil
Firstclass -> Moodle
There have been efforts to engage students through student forums, online chats, group projects and face to face workshops, but there has been little success.
Moodle does not provide the intuitive and highly interactive space that other social network sites do.
In the past we have focused resources into changing Moodle to more closely resemble Facebook but with no noticeable success.
Organisational lock-in has resulted in a situation where changing the course layout and student enrollments to facilitate student interaction is very difficult.
Ethical considerations had made using Facebook an unpopular move amongst management but it was eventually deemed worthy of investigation. I took this opportunity to use this as a research project in my MSc studies.
In a recent student survey, 90% of student said they mainly use Facebook!
It provides closed groups which satisfy ethical considerations and the students have a safe space to communicate and provide a lot of functionality.
It is a neutral space unlike our VLE which is managed by iScoil so more negotiation between instructor and student on how it is used.
It’s free and easy to use.
Offer students membership to closed Facebook group.
Provide students with a short online survey asking them:
- Do you interact with other iScoil students online? Yes / No
- If yes how often? Daily, weekly, monthly
- Do you use iScoil to interact or some other website?
- Do you think it is easy to contact other students on iScoil? Yes / No
This will be hosted on Surveymonkey.
As group moderator I will try to promote student interaction based on student interests using action research methodology and create a safe space where students can interact with each other.
On completion of study, provide students with exit survey asking the same questions as initial questionnaire.
Collect data and write up resulting paper.
All students are under 18 and can be classified as vulnerable. I am awaiting feedback from the Ethics Commitee.
My target journal for submission is Interactive Learning Environments
Requires 2,000 and 6,000 words.
- Innovative learning situations, including adaptive systems, intelligent tutoring, conversational and advisory systems
- Tools to aid learning and tools for studying and modelling learners
- Cognitive, social, developmental and motivational aspects of how learning comes about
- Principles of course design for effective learning, authoring tools
- Self-organised learning and learning to learn
- Informal knowledge exchange networks
- Participation in on-line discussion
- Computer supported teamwork projects
- Collaborative learning processes
- Peer tutoring and mentoring in computer mediated learning
- Self assessment and peer assessment in virtual classrooms
- Interactive video and audio technologies
Social and organisational issues
- Facilitating and managing organisational change
- Integrating e-learning with other business processes
- The interface between e-learning and knowledge management
In the context of student learning, Astin (1984) defined engagement as “the amount of
physical and psychological energy that the students devote to the academic experience”
(p. 297). Today, engagement refers to the amount of time and effort that students spend
on educational activities that are related to college academic work (Kuh, 2009).
Chickering and Gamson (1987) offer 7 principles for improving undergraduate education
based on research on exemplary teaching and learning in colleges and universities. All of
these are related to student engagement, including:
- encourages contact between students and faculty,
- develops reciprocity and cooperation among students,
- encourages active learning,
- provides prompt feedback,
- emphasizes time on task,
- communicates high expectations,
- respects diverse talents and ways of learning (Washington Center News, 1987).A closed Facebook group made up of myself and other students can provide an environment where these conditions could be met.
Cite:Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education-TOJDE January 2013 ISSN 1302-6488 Volume: 14 Number: 1 Article 26
Wang, Jenny; Lin, Chun-Fu C.; Yu, Wei-Chieh W.; Wu, Emily
Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, v14 n1 p302-322 Jan 2013