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SUCCEEDING AT MASTER'S LEVEL: USING FACEBOOK LIVE TO AID INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

W. Bailey, C. Reynolds, A. Szabo

University of Huddersfield (UNITED KINGDOM)
If international students (IS) are to succeed at Masters Level, they must develop their academic skills quickly. Academic skills development for IS is vitally important as it has been suggested that they can be particularly apprehensive about their academic performance (Fishchbaccker-Smith et al., 2015). This paper considers the use of Facebook (FB) as one specific strategy to aid the academic skills development of a group of IS undertaking education based Masters Degrees. Whilst Hope (2016) suggests that using FB to develop and nurture learning communities can be far from certain, it has been suggested that FB offers a number of advantages as an educational tool. Using FB within a number of different educational contexts has been shown to aid both learning and performance (Wichadee 2013, Bahati, 2015; Balcikanli, 2015). Communication and the exchange of information can also be fostered through FB, with the potential for more fruitful engagement between students and teachers being evidenced (Magro et al., 2013, Nalbone et al., 2016). Specifically, this paper documents and analyses the use of FB Live which offers live video streaming capabilities. Within this paper, academic skills development is viewed as an ongoing process, not something that takes place once, or at the beginning of a course. Throughout their course, ten FB Live sessions were offered to the IS (approximately one each month). The topic areas covered a number of different areas (writing, reading, critical analysis etc.) to aid IS academic skills development. To analysis FB Live as an educational tool, four focus groups were undertaken, each consisting of seven participants. During each of the focus groups, IS were asked to think about the FB Live sessions they attended and whether they had enabled them to develop their academic skills. Feedback suggests that FB Live could be an important tool to aid the development of academic skills, with participants’ recommending a more structured approach to the use of FB Live, more interaction throughout the sessions, as well as additional sessions throughout the academic year.