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This paper reports on using the Cafe: the Collaborative Application for Education as an online learning environment within the Facebook framework, for integrating international students into first year university in Australia. The Cafe, a new e-learning application, has been designed and developed not only to take advantage of Facebook's popularity and social qualities,but also to provide institutions with a dedicated e-learning environment that meets the needs of modern-day tertiary students and teaching staff. During two courses in 2013, 91 first year design students, including 24 international students participated within the e-learning environment in combination with traditional face-to-face classes. Students submitted work-in-progress imagery related to assignments, and provided critiques to their peers. The evaluation process of the e-learning application involved pre and post semester surveys providing participating students with the opportunity to critically reflect on the experience during the year. The findings of the study are discussed in light of the growing use of social media within learning and teaching in tertiary education, and the importance of providing first year students, particularly international students, with multiple means of communication with staff and peers.
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