In the past two decades, online learning has evolved by leaps and bounds, with traditional classrooms reinvented as websites and apps, and social media serving as the virtual hallways, libraries, and common areas where students meet and share their experiences.
Within the social media landscape, students have discovered there is more value in smaller, private group settings that direct their focus to a single course or area of study. Instructors also recognize the value. At the University of Arizona Global Campus, such instructors are taking on greater leadership responsibilities as moderators of the program or interest-specific Facebook groups, creating a space for students to engage and learn separately from their online classrooms.
“If [UAGC] were a brick and mortar campus, we would engage students as we see them – at events, student faculty clubs, etc.,” explains Forbes School of Business and Technology Program Chair Bill Davis, who moderates and posts to the school’s Facebook group and oversees the college’s management club on LinkedIn. “Technology now makes it possible to socialize with students, alumni, colleagues and friends, both past and present.”
The Forbes School of Business and Technology group, which has grown to include more than 1,500 student/alumni members since it launched in 2018, is one of nine official Facebook groups under the Global Campus umbrella. The colleges of College of Arts and Sciences, also has its own group, as do the Global Campus Honors Program, AU Connections, Doctoral Program, CHAMPS Peer Mentoring services, and its military-affiliated student body.
Why You Should join a Facebook Group
As a Global Campus student, you are encouraged to join one or more of these groups to stay connected. Here are four reasons why you should become a member today.
While UAGC has a number of LinkedIn clubs for you to search out job opportunities and discuss companies of interest, Facebook groups give you a chance to network with peers on a platform that’s designed for social engagement and not entirely focused on career advancement. Whereas LinkedIn is built for the job search, UAGC students can use Facebook groups to build deeper relationships and share valuable content with their peers.
Shipley and other instructors who post to the Facebook groups see value in offering students “interactive” material outside of the classroom. In a group of likeminded individuals, there is a far greater chance you’ll meet someone seeking or already settled in to the career field you’re thinking about pursuing.
2. Finding Resources
Facebook was built for sharing, but with 2.38 billion users (and counting), there’s a lot to sift through if you’re searching for a specific link, article, or presentation. In a group setting, you’re more likely to get help from a fellow student who is also a trusted source. Students in the Facebook groups are also on the same page as you, because many of them are in the same classes. With Facebook’s notification settings, you’ll also know when someone posts something or responds to one of your questions.
3. Mentoring and Encouragement
With instructors involved in every Facebook group, you’ll build relationships beyond the classroom.
“[Facebook] has led to conversations and coaching sessions with students,” Davis says. “I have mentored several students and provided valuable tips, advice, and knowledge.”
At UAGC, no two students are alike. Your background will vary greatly from your peers, some of whom will be younger with less work experience, some of whom will be older and, yes, wiser, especially when it comes to career moves. You can seize that opportunity to reach out to someone who’s been in your shoes – or knows what kind of shoes you’re looking to fill.
“Stay engaged, it is essential,” Davis says.
4. Stress Relief
Surely, by know, you’ve come to know Facebook and other social networks as places where people go to vent their feelings or find something positive to lift their spirits. The UAGC Facebook groups are no different.
“To me, it’s like stopping in a coffee shop or a bar filled with friends, like the old TV show Cheers,” Davis says. “You know once you are in, you are going to meet friends, students, colleagues, and get to see and read various posts.”
With UAGC Facebook groups available on any device or desktop, you can stop by anytime, adding to the flexible nature of pursuing an online degree at Global Campus. After a long day at work or studying, having a place where “everybody knows your name” can be the perfect stress reliever.
With social media now a permanent part of your life, it’s easier than ever to connect with your fellow classmates, even if you’re thousands of miles apart. To join one of our private groups today, go to the university’s Facebook page and select the “Groups” tab to submit a request to a moderator. You’ll be connecting with like-minded students, alumni, and faculty in no time.