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ERIC Number: ED528121
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 604
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1245-7929-0
The Power of the Virtual Pen and the Development of College Freshmen: Exploring the Impact of University Website Messaging on the Situated Identities of First-Year College Students
Sumner, Carol A.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Arizona State University
As enrollment in postsecondary education increases, colleges and universities increasingly rely heavily on the use of the Internet as a means of communication with their students. Upon students' admission, institutional webpage messaging shifts to messages about students' new affiliation with the institution in their situated identity--a college student. Unlike continuing-generation students, first-generation college students are not institutional legacies and must learn how and what it means to be a college student through other means. This study examined the situated identity construction and website experiences of 23 first-year first- and continuing-generation college freshmen attending a summer transition program at Western University (WU). Using a multifaceted approach, this study analyzed how first-generation students made meaning of and used institutional website messaging as they constructed their college student identities. The following steps were used to collect data: a questionnaire, eight observations, a focus group with first-generation participants, one-on-one interviews with two focus group participants, and three interviews with WU staff members responsible for their college or unit webpages for first-year students. Findings utilizing critical discourse analysis revealed answers to several guiding questions focusing on situated identities construction and enactment; multiple and salient identities are at work; the Discourses and impact of WU webpages on first-generation students; how first-generation students experience, make meaning of, and use WU website messaging as they construct their situated identity; and feelings of belonging, marginalization, and mattering experienced by first-generation students through website messaging. Results highlighted differences between the first-generation and continuing-generation students' perception and enactment of the situated identity. Although first-generation students used the website as a tool, they used different ways to gain access into the WU Discourse. Both students and staff members enacted multiple salient identities as they enacted their situated identities, and the multiple salient identities of the WU website designers were highly influential in the website Discourse. Findings have implications for WU institutional practices that could facilitate earlier and more simplified access to the WU Discourse, and findings generated a new model of situated identity construction in Discourse. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A