Social media for student learning: enhancing the student experience and promoting deep learning


Traditional Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) was introduced as a retention-motivated initiative in the College of Science and Engineering 5 years ago. Despite a high level of interest from students, there were several practical barriers that prevented many students from attending these sessions. As an alternative, an online space for Virtual Peer Assisted Learning (VPAL) was trialled. VPAL was found to have not only all the benefits of traditional PAL but also more that had not been anticipated. In this paper we will discuss the practicalities involved and the design choices that had to be made. We will also showcase some anonymised examples of academic and social dialogue between peers and outline some of the unexpected advantages of using VPAL over traditional PAL

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