Summary

We obtained a small grant to employ a couple of students to set up and monitor a Facebook page for new students starting maths based degrees within our department. 

Context

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Faculty of Science

Contact Details

Dr David Young

http://www.strath.ac.uk/staff/youngdaviddr/

Themes

Themes

Rationale

In recent years, it has become evident that students have been setting up Facebook groups for their Mathematics and Statistics classes. However, these groups have tended to be somewhat exclusive and have not always been open to all students registered for the classes. The aim of this project is to set up a more inclusive Facebook group which can be used as a form of peer assisted learning (PAL). In particular, it will serve as a platform for academic communication between the students and help to smooth the transition from school to University for new 1st year students and to later years for returning students.

Successes

Staff were members of the Facebook group and were able to

  1. Identify areas of the curriculum which students are finding difficult and thus take measures to address this e.g. in lectures
  2. Engage students in academic discussion
  3. Provide quick solutions to groups of students at one time thus saving resources e.g. through individual email response

Benefits for students:

  1. Help students adjust to University life (new 1st years)
  2. Smooth the transition from 1st  to 2nd  year (it is recognised that many students find the academic jump from 1st to 2nd year very difficult)
  3. Enhance understanding of Mathematics/Statistics
  4. Improve study skills

Lessons Learnt

N/A

Challenges

Getting staff to engage with social media and see it as a way of communicating with students more effectively than using email or Myplace.

Scalability

N/A

Suggestions for Transferability

It is difficult to make more use of this media as there are still some student (very few) who do not use Facebook and therefore were never signed up.

Attachments

N/A