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"We use Facebook to chat in lectures, of course!" Exploring a Facebook group as a new space transforming higher education

Date: 6 March 2012 Time: 1 - 2 pm

Venue: C89, County South

Eve Stirling, University of Sheffield:

This paper explores what a Facebook "Group" offers a new undergraduate student in their first year at university. It examines the transition period when the students are, becoming a "fully fledged member of university life" (Palmera et al., 2009).

My research is currently at the analytical stage and this paper develops a theoretical model that draws on the work of Doreen Massey (1995, 2005) & Lemke (2000) to situate the empirical findings. I present the argument that Facebook is geographically grounded in the students' lived experiences and that the group has a culture that is both digital and based on "face-to-face" dynamics.

The paper draws on some of the empirical findings from my PhD. The study was a mixed method, multi-sited, connective ethnography (Fields & Kafai, 2009). The year-long ethnography, explored first-year transition to university and followed six participants, through both digital (Facebook) and concrete (meeting face-to-face on campus) environments. The participants were all first year undergraduate students, aged 18-21 at a single UK institution.

I aim to discuss some of the transformational affordances and values a student-led Facebook Group offers student members, such as student autonomy, a backchannel to lectures, a place to learn, peer mentoring, social support and a place for academic procrastination.

Event website:


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Karin Tusting

Organising departments and research centres: Educational Research, Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, Linguistics and English Language

Keywords: Digital literacies, Higher education HE


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
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