First-year veterinary students enrolled in a Professional Development course were invited to join a Facebook group with the goal of having the instructor use that tool to promote student practice of client communication skills. All members of the class were surveyed to determine any difference in educational outcomes between those students who joined the Facebook group (FB) and those who did not (non-FB). Fifty-one students joined the Facebook group out of a class of 99, and 33 responded to the survey. Forty-four of the non-FB students completed the survey, for a total response of 77%. There was no difference between groups in their general use of Facebook. The only educational outcome that differed between the groups was increased practice of communication skills outside of school by the FB group. Students in the FB group cited interest and desire to access all course materials as the most common reason for joining. They were much more likely to read postings than to post anything themselves. Barriers to greater use of the tool by the FB group included lack of time and hesitance to post when others were not. Students were ambivalent about the use of Facebook as an educational tool. The instructor was unaware of the extent of use of the tool until survey results were gathered and felt that it would be most useful as a teaching tool for those instructors who already used Facebook as part of their personal routine.
- educational methods