Roles and Functions of a Non-Academic Medical School Facebook Page from the Student Perspective: A Study of Usage and Survey Data
Keywords:Social media, Medical education, Social support, Medical faculty, Medical students
Background: Facebook is a well-established social networking platform that is commonly used by medical schools as an educational resource, but there are few studies assessing the roles of a non-academic Facebook page in medical education. Cardiff University uses Facebook primarily as a student support and engagement platform through its ‘C21’ Facebook Page; this study aimed to explore the use of the page by students, as well as their perceptions on the value of the page and the appropriateness of social media use by the medical school.
Methods:Authors collected and analyzed C21 Facebook Page usage data to obtain descriptive information on reach, engagement and content. They also distributed an anonymized survey to evaluate and explore users’ interest in, experience of and engagement with the content.
Results: Of the 1021 posts on the page in 2019, the highest post-engagement rate occurred in the?Student or Staff News?category (13.5%) and the lowest in?Medical Research News?(3.5%). Survey feedback on the page was overwhelmingly positive (n=89; 84.8%), and respondents reported a high degree of trust (n=95; 90.5%) in the page. Students would like to see more ‘Curriculum Vitae (CV)-building’ Opportunities advertised on the page.
Conclusion:The C21 Facebook Page is an important resource in developing community within the medical school and facilitating student engagement with both the C21 course and wider medical opportunities. It is perceived as an appropriate channel of communication between the medical school and students.
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