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2007 NACADA Annual Conference Baltimore, Maryland. Online Communities as an Advising Tool. Implementing the Facebook into Advising. Derek T. Furukawa University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Agenda. Overview of Online Communities. Brief Review of Literature. Case Study Findings. Questions.

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Annual Conference

Baltimore, Maryland

Online Communities as an Advising Tool

Implementing the Facebook into Advising

Derek T. Furukawa

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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Overview of Online Communities

Brief Review of Literature

Case Study Findings


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Overview of Online Communities

What They Are

  • Online Communities or Online Social Networks

  • Websites that allow users to post individual profiles that can be linked with other users

    How They Work

  • Users can create their own profile including pictures, demographic information, educational history, interests, and more

  • Users can request to become a “friend” with another user

  • Users can send private messages, leave comments, and post photos

  • Groups can be created for users who share similar interests

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Overview of Online Communities

The Communities

  • (1998)

  • (2002)

  • (2003)

  • (2004)

    Important Details

  • was sold to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation for $580 million in 2005

  • recently turned down an offer from Google to purchase the site for $2.3 billion

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Online Communities in Higher Ed

“about 85% of students in (previously) supported colleges have a profile (on (Of those who are signed up), 60% log in daily. About 85% log in at least once a week, and 93% log in at least once a month.”

“Facebook was named as the second most ‘in’ think among undergraduates, tied with beer and losing only to the iPod.”

Student Monitor, 2006

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Online Communities in Higher Ed

The BAD News :’-(

  • NBC’s To Catch a Predator

  • Xanga violates COPPA (2006)


  • Student disciplinary action

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Online Communities in Higher Ed

The GOOD News :-D

  • Campus Events

  • Increasing Faculty & Staff Profiles

  • Online Privacy and Safety Education

  • Admissions and Recruitment

  • Groups and Networks

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Technology in Advising


  • Answering machines

  • Voicemail


  • Student Records


  • Web-based information

  • E-mail advising

  • Online Chats

  • Instant Messaging

    Online Communities…

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Case Study

Wilson Advising Center, College of Liberal Arts, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3





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Background of Wilson Advising Center

  • Started in 1997

  • First Academic Advising Center at UNLV

  • Initially funded by the Earl E. Wilson Trust

  • Supports all the academic units within the College of Liberal Arts

  • Staff of 6 Professional Advisors, a Graduate Assistant Advisor, two support staff, and four student workers

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Technology in the Wilson Advising Center

  • Student Information System

  • FileMaker student database

  • WAC Website

  • E-mail Advising

  • Facebook group page

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  • Pitched the idea in January 2007 during a WAC Advisors Meeting

  • Presented the proposal with supporting numbers for use

  • Received permission to pursue creating a Facebook group almost immediately

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  • Bring a service to a venue that students are already at

  • Be on the cutting edge of using advising technology

  • Usage (as of 1/30)

    • 18,471 affiliated with UNLV on Myspace

    • 5,809 affiliated with UNLV on Facebook

    • 1,284 affiliated with Liberal Arts at UNLV

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Wilson Advising Center

  • Approval was granted almost immediately following the Advisors meeting

    College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Office

  • Approval was granted within two weeks from the proposal

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Policy Implications


  • Authority of Advice

    Legal/Student Conduct Implications

  • Policy Review

  • Student Privacy

  • Appropriate Content

  • Responsibilities of Site Administrators

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Student Services Implications

  • Utilizing resources already in existence

  • Recognition of public domain information

    Design of the group page

  • Simple design

  • ADA-friendly

  • Privacy Settings

  • Network-specific

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Site Promotion

  • Notation on E-mails

  • Notification to students who would want to use it

  • Flyers in the Wilson Advising Center

    Review and Student Response

  • Feedback from students

    Future of the Site

  • Continued use

  • Increase number of users

  • Use as a way to keep in touch with recent alumni

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Special Thanks

A thank you to the following people for making this presentation possible:

  • Ryan Lathrum, UNLV

  • Valarie Morgan, UNLV

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For more information, contact [email protected]