This post originally appeared at The Student Affairs Blog.
I had the pleasure of joining a “Facebook for Orientation” Webinar with Jennifer Sherry of Virginia Commonwealth and Beth Oakley with University of Windsor. While my colleagues shared how Facebook can be utilized at the university and department level to communicate and engage students, I shared the use of Facebook in a first-year seminar for community building and networking within a specific program.
Much of my campus time is spent coordinating a scholarship program that enrolls 100 new students each year (I should be reading applications right now). These students have long been Facebook users, as I shared here. Inspired by ideas from Tania Dudina over at the Student Leader Blog, I took advantage of that Facebook comfort and created a social networking assignment for the course last fall.
To introduce the topic, I shared my own social networks and links for our program Facebook accounts, a group and a profile. This video explanation of social networks was helpful and moved the emphasis beyond Facebook privacy settings to the actual functions of a social network.
Social Networking Assignment
1. Identify and join a new social network. Try Facebook, if not already a member (98% were Facebook users).
- A list of networks is available here.
- Upon creating your new social network profile, identify 5 new friends or links. Make a screenshot of your new network homepage, save as a jpg, attach, and submit via email.
2. Now that you are on Facebook, locate an alumni/ae of the program with whom to link.
- Interview your new alumni link regarding their advice for first-year students, favorite memories, motivational quotes or career choices.
- Create a PowerPoint slide of your alumni interview highlights. Submit it as an email attachment.
Response to this assignment was favorable and students researched a variety of creative networks. Many of our alumni are new Facebook users and enjoyed the opportunity to link back with the program. Next fall we will include the alumni assignment and may introduce blogging and wikis. We’ll see where it takes us.
Many thanks to the folks at Swift Kick for coordinating the webinar!