Exploring the views of students on the use of Facebook in university teaching and learning

Leah Donlan

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Facebook use among students is almost ubiquitous; however, its use for formal academic purposes remains contested. Through an online survey monitoring student use of module Facebook pages and focus groups, this study explores students' current academic uses of Facebook and their views on using Facebook within university modules. Students reported using Facebook for academic purposes, notably peer-peer communication around group work and assessment - a use not always conceptualised by students as learning. Focus groups revealed that students are not ready or equipped for the collaborative style of learning envisaged by the tutor and see Facebook as their personal domain, within which they will discuss academic topics where they see a strong relevance and purpose, notably in connection with assessment. Students use Facebook for their own mutually defined purposes and a change in student mind- and skill-sets is required to appropriate the collaborative learning benefits of Facebook in formal educational contexts. © 2012 © 2012 UCU.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)572-588
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • collaboration
  • Facebook
  • higher education
  • Social networking
  • teaching


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