The story of our first Facebook live visit (or a ‘Fisit’) in the School of Arts and Humanities.
Belonging and community have long been identified as key areas that can impact on retention and engagement in HE especially in the early days of starting a course. Having redesigned our welcome week to include more community building and belonging activities, it is clear that there are still practical anxieties that can have a negative effect on full engagement in that first week. Building a community is also very important for us as a school – we have many Joint Honours subject combinations, and students can find themselves feeling like they don’t belong to either subject community.
Inspired by Andrew Middleton’s and Chris Rowell’s innovative approach using a Twitter walk (Twalk) to cross boundaries between physical and online spaces, we realised there was an opportunity to develop students attachment and the sense of ‘connectedness’ to the Arts and Humanities School before arriving on campus by using social media. Facebook was chosen as the medium as it links directly to our enrolment and marketing strands and all our enrolled students are invited to join our school Facebook page.
The purpose of the Fisit was to show key facilities on campus, around the Arts and Humanities building and introduce academic and support staff so that students would recognise some faces straightaway. This gives an opportunity to create a social bond, reduce anxiety and break down barriers for our new students arriving into spaces they wouldn’t have inhabited before.
The Fisit was hosted by our Deputy Dean, Dr Karen Randell, an intentional decision also to help the community building and during the Fisit we introduced the students to people that could help them in their first days for example Caroline, our building receptionist who can help them find the rooms they are meant to be in. Academic staff from our departments also featured in the Fisit, again just helping students to feel connected to the experience awaiting them.
The Fisit was designed and supported by our school marketing team and central video team. We also had a quiz running through the Fisit asking viewers if they knew the nom-de-plume of the person after whom the Mary Ann Evans (Humanities) Building was named. Do you know? 🙂
The whole event was extremely successful – it did take a few run throughs before the day to test out wifi and routes around the building but the positive feedback made it very worthwhile.
So – some stats:
By the end of the live session on the 21st September, we reached 108 views and the video had been shared twice.
Six days later on the 27th September, the post had achieved 5k views, 70 likes, 31 comments, 17 shares and the AAH Facebook page had over 50 new likes.
Our audience is much narrower than a University wide initiative and as it’s our first Fisit, we don’t have comparable data but an indication of its success is that our University clearing video had 7k views in a month.
Here’s a short clip of Karen welcoming students to the Fisit – to see the whole video, please visit our AAH Facebook page
Following this success, further Fisit initiatives are being explored – themed to engage with potential and actual applicants and students enrolled.
Head of the Learning and Teaching Support Unit
MAE011(Clifton) DICe S04 (City)