Social Media Encourages Sense of Belonging among Off-Campus University Students

Kine Dorum (University of Leicester, UK), Craig Bartle (University of Leicester, UK) and Martin Pennington (University of Leicester, UK)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 80
EISBN13: 9781466626294|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1930-2.ch004
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Research has shown that students who live off-campus during the academic year experience greater difficulty with social integration, and are at higher risk of dropping out. The aim of the present study was to explore patterns that may give an indication of the extent to which the use of social media websites can help social and academic integration among students who are living off-campus. A survey was distributed among a cohort of 370 first year undergraduate students, measuring their sense of belonging to the institution and their attitudes towards student life. Students who lived on-campus and who used social media websites reported a stronger sense of belonging than students living off-campus. A significant interaction effect indicated that using social media websites reduced the difference in sense of belonging between students living on- and off-campus. Scores on the attitude scale were significantly related to sense of belonging. The results suggest that online networking can aid social integration among students who do not have the advantage of the face-to-face interaction that takes place in residential life on-campus.
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