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Thumbs Up for Facebook Learning Support

Biomedical Science student, Charleigh Lawrence, recently spoke at the First Year Experience Conference in Orlando about her experience using social media to build online communities to facilitate learning.

Ms Lawrence, who is currently completing an Honours degree, is a Senior UniPASS Peer Learning Facilitator, and uses Facebook to support first year students as they tackle difficult units. The online communities function as an adjunct support to the traditional face-to-face UniPASS sessions, which have been operating at Curtin since 2011.

“We use the Facebook groups as a supportive tool to the weekly face-to-face sessions, and we have a strong emphasis on peer learning,” Ms Lawrence said.

“We aim to teach study skills, so different ways to study, different ways to find information and ways to learn that aren’t solely relying on a teacher standing at the front of a classroom…We are getting higher engagement…we get about 30 people attending per session which is incredible.”

Facebook logo
Students have given the thumbs up to the UniPASS Facebook initiative.

Ms Lawrence presented the Lurk Like Learn workshop, which was co-authored by Raphael Pereira Manager, Peer Learning and Support, START Student Transition and Retention Team, at the conference, and received lots of positive feedback.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Deborah Terry, met with Ms Lawrence prior to her departure to Orlando to express her support.

“To be invited to present at this international conference is an example of the outstanding quality of Curtin University students as well as the level of support and development available through initiatives like UniPASS,” Professor Terry said.

“We wish Charleigh all the best with her presentation and hope this achievement inspires other young women to excel in science.”

Professor Deborah Terry, Vice-Chancellor, met with Ms Lawrence prior to her departure to Orlando.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Deborah Terry, met with Ms Lawrence prior to her departure to Orlando.

The workshop was first delivered in 2015 by Ms Lawrence and Bonnie Potier, who is currently completing her MA in Psychology, at the PASS and Peer Learning Conference in Melbourne. Contributors to the UniPASS Facebook model and the Lurk Like Learn workshop  also include Ms Potier, Claire Mueller, Senior Peer Learning Facilitator, Support Services and Amanda Smith, Peer Learning Coordinator.

Raphael Pereira Manager, Peer Learning and Support, START Student Transition and Retention Team, noted that the program’s success is due to committed team work.

“It has been very much a team effort and based on quite a few semesters of work and experience,” Mr Pereira said.