Enhancing Student Experience Through Social Media Platforms

1994 words - 8 pages

 “Serious social media: On the use of social media for improving students’ adjustment to college” an article, published in June 2011, describes the results of a social media intervention developed with the intention of “increasing students’ perception of social support prior to their arrival on campus” (DeAndrea, Ellison, Larose, Steinfield, & Fiore, 2012). This experiment involved the design and implementation of an institutional specific social networking website called “Spartan Connect” which was to “facilitate connections for incoming students – enabling them to ask questions of one another and their residence hall mentors” (DeAndrea, Ellison, Larose, Steinfield, & Fiore, 2012). The site also allowed students to create personal profiles where they could include information such as their program of study, hometown and assigned residence hall. Designated site administrators had the ability to create groups for each residence hall so that students could connect with other students in their residence via “Spartan Connect”. Administrators posted relevant information for each group that included resources and information about planned events and activities.
The main purpose of this study sought to determine whether facilitated connections amongst new students prior to their arrival on campus changed or influenced their perception of their ability to succeed and or influenced their expectations of the institution overall once they physically arrived on campus.
The outcomes of the study suggests that while there was no “direct relationship between use of the website and academic self-efficacy” (DeAndrea, Ellison, Larose, Steinfield, & Fiore, 2012) however, one’s perception of one’s ability to be successful does appear to be influenced by the experiences they had while engaging with others on the site before their arrival on campus. Researchers observed that students became a source of information for each other – posting additional information about events and activities and what to expect and “how to get the most out of the event for students attending the later sessions” (DeAndrea, Ellison, Larose, Steinfield, & Fiore, 2012).
This article shows how social media platforms can be used effectively to create positive experiences for students before they arrive on campus. In this experiment, the use of social media promoted in an increased level of student engagement which resulted in a more positive experience for students as they prepared to enter University. This piece of writing highlights the value of engaging students by promoting and facilitating communication prior to arrival on campus. The researchers conclude that “simply having access to a student-focussed online community may have helped students believe that they would be able to reach other students who could provide help even though use of the site is not directly related to expectations of academic success” (DeAndrea, Ellison, Larose, Steinfield, & Fiore, 2012).
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