Virtual Induction and Social Networking: A Reflective Analysis of the Student Transition Experience

Phillip Millar, Christopher Tierney, Robert Eadie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Research indicates that social and academic integration are important elements in the student experience in the transition to university. Some evidence supports improved outcomes in respect of learning and retention where contact with students is enhanced beyond that experienced in the formal academic environment. Recently, society has been exposed to new communication opportunities with social networking sites oftenthe vehicle of choice. This paper details and discusses student responses to theirinteraction with a dedicated Virtual Induction and Social Networking Site (VISNS). Aliterature supported rationale is offered for its introduction. Student feedback wassought mid semester via a questionnaire in order to analyse student perceptions of thesite’s usefulness. A feedback synopsis and detailed discussion is offered in the body ofthe paper. Analysis of the data reflects broad access across all elements of the sitesuggesting good levels of participation with students being satisfied or very satisfied.There are also some interesting and perhaps surprising responses by student cohortswith regard to the usefulness of the site and how it could be enhanced. Rankings areprovided indicating the relative importance to students of each aspect of the site’sfunctionality at inception and mid semester. These reflect changing student prioritiesthroughout the transition period. Although a longitudinal study, the findings detailed inthis paper suggest the site was successful in promoting student engagement.
LanguageEnglish
Pages55-69
JournalCEBE Transactions (online journal)
Volume7
Issue numberIssue
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010

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networking
induction
student
experience
semester
analysis
ranking
longitudinal study
learning
contact
communication
participation
questionnaire
university

Keywords

  • Virtual Induction
  • Student Experience
  • Student Support
  • Social Networking

Cite this

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title = "Virtual Induction and Social Networking: A Reflective Analysis of the Student Transition Experience",
abstract = "Research indicates that social and academic integration are important elements in the student experience in the transition to university. Some evidence supports improved outcomes in respect of learning and retention where contact with students is enhanced beyond that experienced in the formal academic environment. Recently, society has been exposed to new communication opportunities with social networking sites oftenthe vehicle of choice. This paper details and discusses student responses to theirinteraction with a dedicated Virtual Induction and Social Networking Site (VISNS). Aliterature supported rationale is offered for its introduction. Student feedback wassought mid semester via a questionnaire in order to analyse student perceptions of thesite’s usefulness. A feedback synopsis and detailed discussion is offered in the body ofthe paper. Analysis of the data reflects broad access across all elements of the sitesuggesting good levels of participation with students being satisfied or very satisfied.There are also some interesting and perhaps surprising responses by student cohortswith regard to the usefulness of the site and how it could be enhanced. Rankings areprovided indicating the relative importance to students of each aspect of the site’sfunctionality at inception and mid semester. These reflect changing student prioritiesthroughout the transition period. Although a longitudinal study, the findings detailed inthis paper suggest the site was successful in promoting student engagement.",
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note = "Reference text: Anderson, P. (2007) What is Web 2.0? Ideas, technologies and implications for education. Bristol: JISC Technology and Standards Watch. Available on-line at: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/techwatch/tsw0701b.pdf (Accessed December 2009). Edward, N. (2003) First impressions last: An innovative approach to induction. Active Learning in Higher Education, 4 (3), 226-242. Eysenbach, G. (2004) Improving the quality of web surveys: The checklist for reporting results of internet e-surveys (cherries). The Journal of Medical Internet Research, 6 (3). Available online at: http://www.jmir.org/2004/3/e34 (Accessed May 2009). Frame, P., Harwood, T., Hoult, L., Jenkins, M., Lynch, K. & Volpe, G. (2006) Transitions into higher education: Processes, outcomes and collaborations. In: Grigg, G. & Bond, C. (Eds.) Proceedings of the Association of Tertiary Learning Advisors Aotearoa New Zealand (ATLAANZ), Supporting Learning in the 21st Century; Dunedin, New Zealand: Higher Education Development Centre (HEDC), University of Otago. pp.32-46. Hussey, J. & Hussey, R. (1997) Business research. A practical guide for undergraduate and postgraduate students. London: Macmillan Press Ltd. Ipsos MORI (2008) Great expectations of ICT: How higher education institutions are measuring up. London: Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) Available on-line at: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/documents/greatexpectations.aspx (Accessed December 2009). Krause, K. & Coates, H. (2008) Students’ engagement in first-year university. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 33 (5), 493-505. Krause, K. & McEwen, C. (2009) Student induction to e-learning: A Progress report. University of Southern Queensland report by Link Affiliates Team within the Australian Digital Futures Institute. Available on-line at: http://www.linkaffiliates.net.au/Publications/SIeL_Mar09_Report.html (Accessed December 2009). Leach, L. & Zepke, N. (2003) Changing institutional cultures to improve student outcomes: Emerging themes from the literature. In: Educational research, risks & dilemmas: NZARE/AARE Conference, 29 Nov-3 Dec, Auckland, New Zealand. Lowe, H. & Cook, A. (2003) Mind the gap: Are students prepared for higher education? Journal of Further and Higher Education, 27 (1), 53-76. Ning (2009) About Ning. Available on-line at: http://about.ning.com/ (Accessed December 2009). Oradini, F. & Saunders, G. (2008) The use of social networking by students and staff in higher education. In: Proceedings of iLearning Forum 2008 conference and plugfest. European Institute for E-Learning (EIfEL). Paris 4-5 February 2008, 236-242. Available on-line at http://www.eife-l.org/publications/proceedings/ilf08/ilearning-forum-2008 (Accessed December 2009). Shobrook, S. (2003) The role of pre entry practices and induction strategies in relation to student retention. PROGRESS Project Strategy Guide: Pre-entry and Induction Issues. Available online at http://www.hull.ac.uk/engprogress/Prog3Papers/Sarah1.pdf (accessed May 2009). Sidoryn, T. & Slade, J. (2008) To transition and beyond! Strategies to assist international students throughout their university experience. Conference proceedings of the 19th International Education Association (ISANA) International Conference, Skycity Convention Centre, Auckland, New Zealand, 2-5 December 2008. Tinto, V. (1993) Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. 2nd ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Tucker, J. (1999) Tinto’s model and successful college transitions. Journal of College Student Retention, 1 (2), 163–175. Yorke, M. & Longden, B. (2008) The first-year experience of higher education in the UK: Final report. York: The Higher Education Academy. Zepke, N. & Leach, L. (2010) Improving student engagement: Ten proposals for action. In: Active Learning in Higher Education, 11 (3), 167-177. Zepke, N., Leach, L. & Prebble, T. (2003) Student support and its impact on learning outcomes. Paper presented at the HERDSA Conference. Christchurch, 6-9 July 2003.",
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Virtual Induction and Social Networking: A Reflective Analysis of the Student Transition Experience. / Millar, Phillip; Tierney, Christopher; Eadie, Robert.

Vol. 7, No. Issue, 01.12.2010, p. 55-69.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - Research indicates that social and academic integration are important elements in the student experience in the transition to university. Some evidence supports improved outcomes in respect of learning and retention where contact with students is enhanced beyond that experienced in the formal academic environment. Recently, society has been exposed to new communication opportunities with social networking sites oftenthe vehicle of choice. This paper details and discusses student responses to theirinteraction with a dedicated Virtual Induction and Social Networking Site (VISNS). Aliterature supported rationale is offered for its introduction. Student feedback wassought mid semester via a questionnaire in order to analyse student perceptions of thesite’s usefulness. A feedback synopsis and detailed discussion is offered in the body ofthe paper. Analysis of the data reflects broad access across all elements of the sitesuggesting good levels of participation with students being satisfied or very satisfied.There are also some interesting and perhaps surprising responses by student cohortswith regard to the usefulness of the site and how it could be enhanced. Rankings areprovided indicating the relative importance to students of each aspect of the site’sfunctionality at inception and mid semester. These reflect changing student prioritiesthroughout the transition period. Although a longitudinal study, the findings detailed inthis paper suggest the site was successful in promoting student engagement.

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