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Networking & Connectivity: How Networking Affects Student Learning Trajectories
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social networks
educational fulfillment
intellectual curiosity
student learning
social connection
Higher Education
social skills
personal networks
Social Capital
Hidden Curriculum
social capital
doubly disadvantaged

How to Cite

Machado, Maya. 2023. “Networking &Amp; Connectivity: How Networking Affects Student Learning Trajectories”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, August. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


Networking is a vital skill needed to effectively navigate the college experience yet it is not explicitly taught or emphasized by educators. Networking is a tool needed to identify academic opportunities, expand one’s social network, and grow socially and intellectually. Because networking is rarely explained, some students may be at a disadvantage...

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Subject Area(s):
Applied Sociology/Evaluation Research, Collective Behavior/Social Movements, Communication and Information Technologies, Community, Education, Social Networks, Teaching and Learning in Sociology
Resource Type(s):
Assignment, Class Activity
Class Level(s):
Any Level, College 100
Class Size(s):

Usage Notes

This activity will require 50 minutes to an hour, ideally a full hour. Before arriving to class, students will have to complete a “scavenger hunt” in which they identify at least three academic and/or extracurricular opportunities that are advertised on campus. This scavenger hunt should be completed as a homework assignment and should...

Download this resource to see full details. Download this resource to see full details.

Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. Students will understand the importance of networking in higher education.
  2. Students will learn and apply networking strategies to maximize their networks while in college.
  3. Students will identify ways that the university shares opportunities (internships via email, the department sends information about internships in email, posters in the hallways of the academic building).
  4. Students will identify research opportunities, honor club memberships, and department-wide campus jobs or research assistantships by visiting their department's website and by visiting their department's on-campus office.
  5. Students will identify different student organizations of their choice that they find compelling.
  6. Students are aware of the role, responsibilities, and duties of the different people in their department (TAs, Office Assistants, Assistant professors, lecturers, other faculty, etc). Students are made aware that these people can be and are resources for their academic success; even their office mates.
  7. Students will learn and execute professional communication skills used to network in academic settings.
  8. Students will be able to describe social capital in sociological and practical terms.
  9. Students will be able to build stronger relationships that have professional and personal benefits.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. Students will understand the role that networking has on success in higher education through their engagement in the discussion on social capital and The Privileged Poor (Jack 2019).
  2. Student’s ability to identify resources on campus that can assist them in finding new academic interests (eg summer internships, summer programs, on-campus positions, etc) will be assessed by their participation in an “extracurricular scavenger hunt.” The scavenger hunt activity is to be completed independently as a homework assignment.
  3. Students will share at least one opportunity they found during small group discussions.
  4. Students’ ability to utilize networking and communicative skills will be assessed by sharing at least one opportunity they found during the scavenger hunt activity.
  5. Students will describe the role, responsibilities, and duties of various faculty members that distribute academic and non-academic resources and opportunities. These faculty members might include but are not limited to office personnel, faculty, and staff.
  6. Students’ ability to apply communication skills will be assessed by a self-assessment of the student’s experience that explains how they used communication skills to make new professional, social, and academic connections.
  7. Students will participate in a group discussion where they describe social capital to their peers. In this discussion, students will discuss their experiences with social capital, their awareness of their level of social capital (or lack thereof) as well as what they learned about social capital within this activity.
  8. Social and communicative skills are developed through students’ conversations in small group discussions toward the end of the activity.
  9. Students’ ability to build strong social, academic, and professional relationships will be assessed by their participation in the small group discussion.

When using resources from TRAILS, please include a clear and legible citation.

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