Self-emergent peer support using online social networking during cross-border transition

  • Feng Ding 1. Faculty of English Language and Culture, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies 2. Department of English Language Education, Faculty of Humanities, Hong Kong Institute of Education.
  • Paul Stapleton Department of English Language Education, Faculty of Humanities, Hong Kong Institute of Education
Keywords: Education, social network

Abstract

Transitioning from school to university is a major development for learners, often accompanied by difficulties. When overseas students arrive at university for the first time these challenges are multiplied. It is suggested, however, that these difficulties can be mitigated to a certain extent via the use of online social networks. The present study, using data generated by a group of 350 first-year students from mainland China (called QQ), explores how an online instant messaging service helped the students adapt to life in a Hong Kong university. Findings reveal that (a) first-year mainland students experienced specific problems at distinct stages; (b) the QQ provided informational, instrumental and emotional support for the students; (c) the QQ was self-emergent and had a clear annual cycle. It is argued that self-initiated peer support among students plays a vital role in higher education, especially at crucial periods such as school-to-university and cross-border transitions.

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Published
2015-12-24
How to Cite
Ding, F., & Stapleton, P. (2015). Self-emergent peer support using online social networking during cross-border transition. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 31(6). https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.2305