Using texting to support students' transition to university

David Harley, Sandra Winn, Paula Wilcox, S. Pemberton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-241
Number of pages13
JournalInnovations in Education and Teaching International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


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