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ERIC Number: ED566303
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 127
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3037-5004-5
ISSN: N/A
A Little Help from My Friends: Testing the Utility of Facebook Groups as Online Communities in an Undergraduate Research Internship
Brobst, Joseph Arthur
ProQuest LLC, D.Ed. Dissertation, University of Delaware
This Executive Position Paper describes the findings of a study investigating the utility of Facebook Groups in fostering community among participants in the Delaware INBRE and EPSCoR undergraduate research internship programs. In the first phase of the study, findings from the existing evaluation of the programs and themes from the literature were drawn upon to design a mock-up Facebook group that could be used during the internships. In the second phase of the study, research mentors, program leadership, and selected past student interns were interviewed about the current state of the internship programs and offered the chance to comment on the design and utility of the mock-up Facebook group design. Past student interns were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the potential of using the Facebook group, while mentors and leadership were cautiously optimistic. Students viewed the Facebook group as a potential venue for sharing of internship information and resources, as well as place in which they could receive feedback from research mentors and network with mentors and other students. Mentors and leadership saw the Facebook group as a tool that could be used for dissemination of information and monitoring of students' progress. In the third phase of the study, the design of the mock-up group was refined in light of the findings from the second phase, after which additional past student interns were invited to join the group on Facebook and complete a survey describing their feelings about its usefulness and potential value. Likely uses of the group cited by students included receiving feedback on research projects and research symposium posters and commenting on photos/videos or posters uploaded by other group members. Benefits that students felt they might gain through using the group included improved sense of community and getting help on posters from other students. Based on these findings, the incorporation of Facebook Groups into the internship programs is recommended and suggestions for its design are offered. Additional recommendations are made for changes that may be made to improve sense of community among internship stakeholders as well as other aspects of the internship programs. Finally, limitations to the findings of this study are discussed. [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: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A