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Online Social Networking: A Mechanism To Acclimatize Incoming Freshmen And Facilitate Department Communication

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

New Trends in CHE Education II

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.934.1 - 14.934.9



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Paper Authors

author page

J.Patrick Abulencia Manhattan College

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Online Social Networking: A Mechanism to Acclimatize Incoming Freshmen and Facilitate Department Communication.


Online social networking tools such as Facebook and Ning are non-intimidating ways to interact with other people. The benign nature of this environment serves as a useful mechanism for introducing incoming freshmen, many of whom are shy and introverted, to their peers prior to arriving on campus. This past summer, Facebook was used as the primary component for the BRIDGE program, which offers an opportunity to ease the transition of incoming freshmen into college life.

In addition to this role, online social networking tools have other potential uses for a Chemical Engineering department. First, they can be used as a mechanism to disseminate information quickly. Creating a central communications location allows easy announcement of department events or collection of feedback surveys. Another possibility is to use it as a discussion forum for their Chemical Engineering courses. Since classes can be gathered together into one group, exchanges on concepts or assigned problems can occur among the members (i.e. students and faculty of the course). Finally, online social networking tools can be used to stay in touch with alumni. This connection can help lead to a dialogue between the current underclassmen and alumni to initiate discussions on internships and career options at their place of employment.


The ubiquity of online social networking, especially among college students, has made it a candidate for scholarly research. Most of the early work on this phenomenon has focused on a user’s presentation of identity, and privacy concerns 1. However, a growing body of knowledge has focused on their role within a college or university setting 2, 3, 4. This work examines the use and role of online social networking towards facilitating the high school to college transition, as well as a tool for facilitating department communication.

The transition from high school to college involves many changes including: • Facing a more rigorous curriculum and subject of study compared to high school • Leaving their family and moving into a dormitory with strangers • Acquiring new and unfamiliar social networks 5,6,7

This critical time period in a student’s academic career is often coupled with a large amount of anxiety and stress, which can carry over in ensuing semesters 8. This cascade may cause detrimental effects on student learning and performance, as well as the college experience as a whole.


Abulencia, J. (2009, June), Online Social Networking: A Mechanism To Acclimatize Incoming Freshmen And Facilitate Department Communication Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5867

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