Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cyberspace scholarship nets higher grades, better thinking for class Facebook group

Date:
April 28, 2014
Source:
Baylor University
Summary:
University students who used a Facebook group as part of a large sociology class did better on course assignments and felt a stronger sense of belonging, researchers have found. The study has implications for the challenge of teaching large classes, a growing concern for higher education. "Although some teachers may worry that social media distracts students from legitimate learning, we found that our Facebook group helped transform students from anonymous spectators into a community of active learners -- and this has important consequences for student performance," said a co-author of the study.

University students who used a Facebook group as part of a large sociology class did better on course assignments and felt a stronger sense of belonging, according to a Baylor University study.

The study has implications for the challenge of teaching large classes, a matter of growing concern for higher education. Classes numbering hundreds of students -- particularly in introductory courses -- have become common at many universities, said researchers Kevin Dougherty, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology in Baylor's College of Arts and Sciences, and Brita Andercheck, a doctoral candidate in sociology at Baylor.

Their study -- "Using Facebook to Engage Learners in a Large Introductory Course" -- was published in Teaching Sociology, a journal of the American Sociological Association.

"Although some teachers may worry that social media distracts students from legitimate learning, we found that our Facebook group helped transform students from anonymous spectators into a community of active learners -- and this has important consequences for student performance," Dougherty said.

The Baylor research focused on a class of 218 students in an introductory sociology class at Baylor, a private research university of about 15,000 students. Students who participated in the Facebook group scored higher on quizzes, wrote stronger papers and did better on exams than classmates who did not take part, the study reports.

Baylor researchers noted that participation in the group was voluntary and set up as a "closed group" as defined by Facebook. Only those enrolled in the class were permitted to join. They had to request to do so and be accepted by a faculty administrator. Two-thirds of students in the class ended up joining the group.

Both students and teaching staff provided a steady stream of content to the Facebook group, researchers said. Teaching staff posted discussion questions, links to relevant online material and photos and videos of in-class events such as guest lectures and themed skits. Students, meanwhile, posted their own photos and videos related to course concepts, engaged in discussions and sought solutions to questions and problems.

Students' posts attracted comments and "like" responses from classmates.

"Again and again, we saw students helping one another on the Facebook group," Dougherty said.

One student with food poisoning missed class and posted, "Someone care to tell me what we're taking notes over? I'll be your best friiiiiiend!" A classmate responded less than a minute later.

As final exams approached, students were especially helpful to each other, swapping definitions and examples and organizing informal study sessions.

Because the majority of students access Facebook through a mobile device such as a cellphone or iPad, "the class Facebook Group was almost always with them . . . No student in our class needed assistance using Facebook," researchers wrote.

"A Facebook group extends the classroom in time and space," Dougherty said. "It allows students to interact with one another and with the subject matter wherever and whenever they choose. It makes them more active learners."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Baylor University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. K. D. Dougherty, B. Andercheck. Using Facebook to Engage Learners in a Large Introductory Course. Teaching Sociology, 2014; 42 (2): 95 DOI: 10.1177/0092055X14521022

Cite This Page:

Baylor University. "Cyberspace scholarship nets higher grades, better thinking for class Facebook group." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428155853.htm>.
Baylor University. (2014, April 28). Cyberspace scholarship nets higher grades, better thinking for class Facebook group. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428155853.htm
Baylor University. "Cyberspace scholarship nets higher grades, better thinking for class Facebook group." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428155853.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme

Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme

AP (July 23, 2014) Six people were indicted Wednesday in an international ring that took over more than 1,000 StubHub users' accounts and fraudulently bought tickets that were then resold. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Reviews Are In For The Amazon Fire Phone

The Reviews Are In For The Amazon Fire Phone

Newsy (July 23, 2014) Amazon's first smartphone, the Fire Phone, is set to ship this week, and so far the reviews have been pretty mixed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bigger Apple Phone, Bigger Orders

Bigger Apple Phone, Bigger Orders

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 22, 2014) Apple is asking suppliers to make 70 to 80 million units of its new larger screen iPhone, a lot more initially than its current model. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins