International design collaboration and mentoring for tertiary students through Facebook

Josh McCarthy

Abstract


This study explores the efficacy of the online social networking site Facebook, for linking international digital media student cohorts through an e-mentoring scheme. It reports on the 2011 collaboration between the University of Adelaide in Australia, and Penn State University in the United States. Over one semester, twelve postgraduate students in Australia and ten undergraduate students in the United States took part in an online mentor scheme hosted by Facebook. Students were required to submit work-in-progress imagery each week to a series of galleries within the forum. Postgraduate students from Adelaide mentored the undergraduate students at Penn State, and in turn, staff and associated industry professionals mentored the Adelaide students. Interaction between the two student cohorts was consistently strong throughout the semester, and all parties benefitted from the collaboration. Students from Penn State University were able to receive guidance and critiques from more experienced peers, and responded positively to the continual feedback over the semester. Students from the University of Adelaide received support from three different groups: Penn State staff and associated professionals; local industry professionals and recent graduates; and peers from Penn State. The 2011 scheme highlighted the efficacy of Facebook as a host site for e-mentoring and strengthened the bond between the two collaborating institutions.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14742/ajet.1383