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What is it?
Facebook is a social media website that has become ubiquitous in our personal lives. Facebook has also proven itself a powerful marketing tool in business. However, we don't always associate the platform with education. Facebook offers great opportunity for connectivity and communication. The manner in which we use Facebook in our personal lives can easily be applied to teaching. Staff and students can share links, multimedia and even hold discussions.
In higher education, Facebook is often used by schools or departments to promote their research and student achievements. Here at NUI Galway, many departments are using the platform in this way. These pages are convenient for staff and students alike as so many of us use the platform personally and quite regularly. Therefore, the dissemination of information is rapid.
Facebook is free, accessible and user-friendly. It is worthwhile considering its benefits as a promotion tool.
You can follow our Facebook page below:
Uses & Benefits
Facebook is a useful educational and promotional tool for a wide variety of reasons. Its presence in our culture has long been established. The platform has a power that can be used throughout our lives in so many ways.
- Create a Facebook page for your school or department to share research, student acheievements and events
- Create a group page for a module where students can hold private discussions and share information and multimedia in a platform they are familiar with
- Join groups based on your own academic interests in order to communicate, collaborate and share work with colleagues
- Use the chat feature to instant message or for group messaging
- Follow other organisations in order to stay current on their work
- Use the mobile app to keep in touch on the go
- Facebook is a platform for sharing thoughts and interesting finds within your various circles in a familiar and easy manner
- The mobile app is popular and can allow users immediate access to information
- The platform is broad enough in reach yet modifiable in its privacy settings to suit a variety of needs
- Pages and groups allow users with similar interests to connect on a personal and professional level
- Facebook is a powerful advertising tool that can raise awareness of research and news that you wish to share
When using Facebook in an educational setting, you will most likely use a like page or a group page. While their functionalities are essentially the same; these pages differ in their reach.
1. A like page is a page open to all Facebook users. When you decide to create a page, you will be asked what type of page you are hoping to create. Once created all users can view your content and follow your page by "liking" it. This kind of page is for information that you hope to share on a wider basis. While users can comment on posts and content shared, it isn't the forum for private discussions as these can also be seen widely.
Some examples of these pages include:
The NUI Galway Official Facebook page:
The LearnTech Galway Community page:
2. Group pages can be created where users have to be approved to join. This gives the owner more control over the page. You can decide to make your group public or closed. You can decide to add members based on qualifications or enrolment in a specific course. In these groups, the group moderator can approve posts before they are posted to the group if they chose to. Privacy and control are the benefits of using a Facebook group. Other than that, the functionalities of Facebook are the same in a group setting.
The Maynooth University Facebook group:
Our CEL263 Facebook Group for course participants:
NUI Galway Facebook Pages
Facebook. (2015) Facebook in Education. Available at: https://www.facebook.com/education [Accessed 30 July 2015].
Holstead, Carol and Ward Doug. (2013) "Using Facebook and Tumblr to Engage Students!, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 11 March. Available at: http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/using-facebook-and-tumblr-to-engage-students/47221 [Accessed 30 July 2015].
Prescott, J (2014) 'How professors are using Facebook to teach', The Washington Post, 10 July. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/07/10/how-professors-are-using-facebook-to-teach/ [Accessed 30 July 2015].
Wang, R, Scown, P, Urquhart, C, Hardiman, J. (2012) 'Tapping the educational potential of Facebook: Guidelines for use in higher education', Education and Information Technologies, 19, pp. 21-39. Available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10639-012-9206-z/fulltext.html [Accessed 30 July 2015].
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