1Manager, Peer Learning and Support, Curtin University
The New to Curtin UniMentor Program is a university-wide opt out mentoring program which utilises experienced students to act as mentors to all new students. In semester one 2017, 494 mentors assisted over 7,000 new students to transition to the university. In 2017 Facebook was selected as the preferred social media modality and introduced into the program to enhance connectivity, build community, utilise peer support and just-in-time communication, to connect, support and inspire successful transition. The closed Facebook group was modelled on the successful peer-mediated Facebook groups established by our UniPASS team, which is nationally accredited through the Australasian PASS Centre, University of Wollongong. Facebook was selected for its ubiquity, informality, fluidity of communication, and frequency of use among Curtin University’s diverse student body. Initial results demonstrate that the use of student-driven online support communities allow for a vibrant learning and supportive community where students have connected with peers socially and academically, creating a safe, student-centred space to seek support and share content-specific learning resources and interests. The Facebook group has also provided an additional metric to measure impact and student engagement with the program.
Roselynn Lang is the Manager, Peer Learning and Support at Curtin University.