Some Saudi Arabian medical students are using Facebook as both an outlet for social networking and an effective learning tool. The study is published ahead of print in Advances in Physiology Education.
Faculty at Alfaisal University College of Medicine in Saudi Arabia created a Facebook page to supplement the neuroscience block of studies in the bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery program. The page, open to students and the general public over the course of the entire school year, offered several forms of supplemental information, including PowerPoint lecture notes, multiple-choice questions, neuroscience-related information not covered in class and general interest information not directly related to neuroscience.
The faculty discovered that 63 percent of students downloaded lecture notes and presentations from the page, and more than 78 percent accessed the multiple-choice quizzes. The highest peak in usage corresponded with the neuroscience final exam. The students who accessed the Facebook page during their school year earned higher final grades than those who took the same classes the previous year without the supplemental social media component. "We conclude that implementation of our Facebook page was most likely a very useful resource for students to use in consolidation and exam preparation, in a manner that is conveniently accessed by students in a pressure-free environment," wrote the researchers.
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Khurshid Anwar et al. Can Facebook pages be a mode of blended learning to supplement in-class teaching in Saudi Arabia?, Advances in Physiology Education (2017). DOI: 10.1152/advan.00065.2017