Research into student dropout rates has attempted to identify factors that influence a student's chances of dropping out. Student engagement has emerged as an important aspect of academic success. It would seem that the development of friendship networks, based on socializing, could also be important, however, there has been little research in this area. This study looks at whether students who participated in online tutorial discussions, in addition to face-to-face tutorial meetings, made more friends through the class than students who did not. Using a quasi-experimental research design, students in Introductory Sociology were divided into two experimental groups with additional online tutorial activities and a control group without. It was found that students in both experimental groups were more likely to make friends through their tutorial than control group students, who were more likely to make friends through the lecture. The study also found that older students who were in the experimental groups reported making greater numbers of friends than those who were not.
Australian Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society 2007