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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 15 (2010) pp 394-397

Social Networking Sites for Online Collaboration in Chemistry Courses: A Facebook Experiment

Jeffrey H. Byers

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT 05753,
Received July 20, 2010. Accepted September 23, 2010.

Published: 16 December 2010

Abstract. Facebook, the largest social networking site, was used for online discussions in six chemistry courses over three academic years. Postings consisted of faculty-generated problems in the form of online collaborative problems which were assessed as part of examinations, as well as student-generated discussions and questions. Incentives, including a modest grade enhancement for participation, and “preposting” a problem suitable to online collaboration prior to the actual exam where the question was posed for assessment, were established. As a result, student participation was high, with 100% of the class joining the Facebook group and a typical average of 10 posts per course enrollee per semester, despite the fact that there was no formal posting requirement. Examples are provided of enhanced classroom discussions arising from Facebook collaboration, as well as students’ learning challenging topics from each other.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; facebook, social networking, collaboration

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