This article argues that judicious use of mobile phone text messaging by university staff has the potential to enhance the support provided to students by an academic department during the transition to university. It reports on an evaluation of a desktop computer application, Student Messenger, which enables staff to send text messages from their computers to the mobile phones of groups of students. Analysis of qualitative interviews with 30 students reveals that text messaging is the dominant mode of electronic communication amongst students and plays a central role in maintaining their social networks. The text message dialogue amongst students provides emotional and social peer support and facilitates an informal system of interdependent learning in relation to navigating unfamiliar academic and administrative systems. Text messages from university staff, inserted into this dialogue, can enhance the existing peer support and aid students’ social integration into university life.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||Innovations in Education and Teaching International|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2007|