Publication details

Facebook Groups as Means to the Social Integration of First-generation University Students



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The Covid-19 pandemic has made the academic year 2020/2021 very different from other years. Many first-year students have only visited their university a few times. It follows that their integration into a new system was much more exacting than for those who began to study during previous years. Tinto (1975) theorizes that all newcomers integrate into two (academic and social) spheres of a university system. He defines integration into the academic sphere as the ability to become a student who has accepted a new social role and who knows how to study and successfully get through their term. Integration into the social system means making new connections, finding new friends, and living the "students' life", which also means becoming a student who knows his or her rights and duties and knows who to contact if she or he needs something connected to education. According to Vlk et al. (2017) and Dyson and Renk (2006), successful integration into the university system is crucial for future student study achievement. But the first semester of the academic year 2020/2021 was held online at most Czech universities. That negatively influenced the possibility of meeting new peers, teachers, and colleagues, leading to more difficult integration into the system. Current research focuses more on how pandemic affected lower educational levels, and they observe how the situation and distance education influences pupils' educational paths (for more, see Brom et al., 2020; Švaříček et al. 2020). We can also find research papers about integration in higher education background, but so far, no research has focused on integration into the university system during their pandemic online first semester. This research gap partially filled this paper. Except for the specific time and conditions of the first semester of the academic year 2020/2021 in the Czech Republic, this research focus on a specific group of students. This specific group of students are first-generation students who are more likely to drop out of tertiary education than their colleagues (Ives and Castillo-Montoya, 2020). We can identify several groups of students. One of them is a group of first-generation students. These are students whose parents and siblings do not have a degree from a tertiary educational institution. These students are more likely to drop out and have to overcome more obstacles than their colleagues who are not first-generation students (Vengřinová, 2021). Based on the research gap, the specific situation of social distance during the first semester of the academic year 2020/2021 and the specific group of students, the main research question is: How do first-generation students reflect and describe their effort to meet their peers and to accept their new role as students and become part of the academic community?
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