Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:The Impact of Facebook on the College Experience
Author(s):Ellerin, Ashley
Subject(s):boys v. girls
Spring 2010
Abstract:During my time in college, I've had many experiences with Facebook, both negative and positive. One of the most exciting moments of getting into Syracuse was getting my email address and making my first Facebook account. However, as time has gone on, Facebook has definitely had some negative effects in my life. I've been hurt by friends, received threatening messages, and overall felt pressures to look a certain way if a photo would be posted. I think there are some very positive attributes associated with this social networking tool, but I wonder about the negatives. I want to see how other students feel, in different capacities at Syracuse University. As I began my research, I found very blatant differences between the way girls and boys use Facebook. Many of the experiences I have had were similar to those of the females I spoke to, but the males' experiences with the site contrasted greatly. The females were much more emotional about their browsing, while the males used it as a leisure, no-brainer activity. This is where the meat of my research emerged from. I wanted to find out what the differences between the way boys and girls use Facebook are and why that is. What are gender communication differences that explain this contrast? In what ways are they different? Why? These questions were all answered through my research. Females are, in fact, more emotional beings, as anthropologists have found. Therefore, they translate these emotions through menial tasks, even Facebook browsing. Males, on the other hand, don't take the site as seriously or emotionally and use it as a tool for funny or interesting information, not to spur emotional activity.
Issue Date:2010
Course / Semester:The Ethnography of the University: Studying Scholarship in Action was designed to introduce undergraduate students to ethnographic methodologies, institutional analysis, and the research publication process. Students conducted ethnographic studies of Syracuse University Scholarship in Action projects of their choosing and had the opportunity to produce their results on the web. All the steps in the research process, from the formation of research questions to the creation of final research papers, was produced on-line at a collaborative website, Moodle, that has been created at the University of Illinois to facilitate undergraduate ethnography of the university projects. This project is titled the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI).
Students were encouraged to make their work public so that their research subjects, fellow students and Syracuse community participants, would be able to comment and provide feedback on their research. The IDEALS on-line archive would enable this process to be recorded for future students in the hope that they will build on present student research. The archiving of “scholarship in action” research for ANT 300 may help Syracuse University better understands the learning outcomes of “scholarship in action” initiatives.
It is important to remember that “The Ethnography of the University” is not only a course but also part of two larger projects, the “Imagining America Project,” a national project combining the arts, humanities and social sciences to create interdisciplinary discussions about America’s future , and the University of Illinois centered project, the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI)
The Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI) includes several universities and community colleges located in the state of Illinois. All of these schools are public. Syracuse University is the first non-Illinois and first private university to join the group. This class joined an inter-campus learning community in which many classes from several schools (most, however, are located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) explore their universities and colleges ethnographically. In order to explore Syracuse University ethnographically, we needed to think about what “the university” is, what “ethnography” is, and what “scholarship in action” is. Broadly, we explored the university as a composite of prose, numerical, and visual narratives.
The course also introduced students to ethnographic methods. The bulk of this class was devoted to students’ own ethnographic projects on a Syracuse University “Scholarship in Action” endeavor although it was possible to carry out research on other areas if students presented a good case for doing so. A wide variety of social practices and learning processes were expected to become part of what students researched.
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-06-01

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Technology and Student Life
    This collection appreciates and investigates the meanings and impact of new technologies on students' social lives, learning, and group formation.

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