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Social Networking in E-Learning Courses:
      Building Sense of Community

                Steve C. Yuen, Ph.D.
         ...
What is a Social Network?
   • A social network is an online service for
     communities of people who share an interest
...
Key Emerging Technologies
• User-Created Content
• Social Networking
• Mobile Phones
• Virtual Words
• The New Scholarship...
Popular Social Networks
•Facebook

•Friendster

•LinkedIn

•MySpace

•Ning
Social Networks in Education
• Provide a casual place of learning
• Encourage students to express their own
  thoughts
• P...
Sense of Community
• “A feeling that members have of belonging, a felling that
  members matter to one another and to the ...
A Case Study
• Designed and developed two class social
  networking sites and then integrated them into
  two hybrid cours...
Research Questions
•   How could the researchers design and implement a
    social networking site for teaching an online ...
Participants
• 30 students enrolled in graduate classes from two
  universities during the spring semester in 2008
• The c...
Design of Social Networking Sites
• Ning was chosen as an online platform to create a class
  social networking site
• All...
Implementation
• Two social networking sites were designed and tested prior to the
  beginning of class with each having a...
Data Collection and Instrumentation
• A questionnaire was developed to evaluate the
  use of social networking in teaching...
Results
• Demographic profile of the participants
  – 77% of participants were between ages of 25 to 39
  – 60% of them we...
Students’ Perceptions of the Use of a
               Social Network
                                                      ...
Students’ Perceptions of the Use of a
                Social Network
                                                     ...
Students’ Perceptions of the Use of a
                Social Network
                                                     ...
Connectedness Subscale of CSS
                                                       Course A       Course B Combined
#   ...
Connectedness Subscale of CSS
                                                       Course A       Course B Combined
#   ...
Learning Subscale of CSS
                                                        Course A      Course B Combined
#    Item...
Learning Subscale of CSS
                                                       Course A       Course B Combined
#    Item...
Age and Gender Differences
• One-factor analysis of variance was used to
  investigate the differences in students’ age an...
Conclusion
• The approach of designing and integrating a class social
  networking site into two courses were fun, worthwh...
Conclusion
• Using a social networking site in a class could
  build a sense of community among learners
• Participants in...
The End



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Social Networking In E Learning Courses:  Building Sense of Community
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Social Networking In E Learning Courses: Building Sense of Community

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A presentation at the 2009 AECT/SICET Annual Conference in Louisville, Kentucky on October 29, 2009.

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Transcript of "Social Networking In E Learning Courses: Building Sense of Community"

  1. 1. Social Networking in E-Learning Courses: Building Sense of Community Steve C. Yuen, Ph.D. Professor The University of Southern Mississippi Steve.Yuen@usm.edu and Harrison Yang, Ph.D. State University of New York at Oswego hyang2@oswego.edu
  2. 2. What is a Social Network? • A social network is an online service for communities of people who share an interest with one another to collaborate. • A social network service focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most social network services are web based and provide a variety of ways for users to interact, such as e- mail and instant messaging services (Wikipedia). Barnett: Social Networking March 8, 2008
  3. 3. Key Emerging Technologies • User-Created Content • Social Networking • Mobile Phones • Virtual Words • The New Scholarship and Emerging Forum of publication • Massively Multiplayer Educational Gaming The Horizon Report, 2007 Edition, http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/CSD4781.pdf
  4. 4. Popular Social Networks •Facebook •Friendster •LinkedIn •MySpace •Ning
  5. 5. Social Networks in Education • Provide a casual place of learning • Encourage students to express their own thoughts • Provide effective collaboration and communication • Enhance students’ learning experiences • Build an online learning community • Offer immersion in a foreign language environment
  6. 6. Sense of Community • “A feeling that members have of belonging, a felling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to be together” (McMillan and Chavis, 1986, p.9) • Research studies indicated that spirit, trust, sense of belonging, interactivity, common goals, shared values and beliefs, and common expectations were the most essential elements of community • Studies on online environments have indicated that the sense of community could be created and supported through various interactive electronic media • Sense of community could be enhanced among students in e- learning courses through pedagogical, social, managerial, and technical functions (Yang and Liu, 2008)
  7. 7. A Case Study • Designed and developed two class social networking sites and then integrated them into two hybrid courses focusing on building a sense of community • Purposes – Obtain specific information about the process of the social network instructional approach – Investigate students’ perceptions on the use of social networking on the sense of community in e-learning
  8. 8. Research Questions • How could the researchers design and implement a social networking site for teaching an online or hybrid course? • How did students feel regarding the use of a social networking site in learning? • What were the effects of using a social networking site in a course on the sense of community among learners? • Were there differences in the use of a social networking site and the sense of community among different learners (age and gender)?
  9. 9. Participants • 30 students enrolled in graduate classes from two universities during the spring semester in 2008 • The courses were offered in a blended learning or hybrid format – Course A Seminar in IT offered in a regular 15-week semester at a state university in southern region of the U.S. – Course B IT Management in School offered in an intensive 4 weeks format at a public university in Hong Kong • The majority of participants in both courses were part- time in-service teachers who were pursuing a master’s degree in educational technology • Both courses were taught by the same instructor
  10. 10. Design of Social Networking Sites • Ning was chosen as an online platform to create a class social networking site • Allowed students to create their own profiles; upload photos, audio, podcasts, and videos, create and join discussion groups, send messages and publish blogs and presentations • Designed for private use • Only class members in the course were invited to join the class social network • No guest or outsider was allowed to join and participate in the social network.
  11. 11. Implementation • Two social networking sites were designed and tested prior to the beginning of class with each having a similar layout and identical features and components • Both courses were taught by the same instructor • Introduced social networking concept and the social networking site in the beginning of the course • Provided hands-on demonstration on using the social networking site • Invited students to join the social networking site • Required students to create a personal profile • Encouraged students to post personal media and personal blog, podcasts, and videos related to the course content to the social network • Held bi-weekly class discussions in the forum • Encouraged students to form groups for other personal or class activities • Completed a survey at the end of semester
  12. 12. Data Collection and Instrumentation • A questionnaire was developed to evaluate the use of social networking in teaching and learning and assess its effectiveness on the sense of community among learners • The questionnaire consisted of 3 parts: – Part A Background Information (8 items) – Part B Students’ feedback regarding the use of social networking site in teaching and learning (19 items) – Part C Classroom Community Scale (CSS) developed by Rovai (20 items)
  13. 13. Results • Demographic profile of the participants – 77% of participants were between ages of 25 to 39 – 60% of them were female – 94% of them access the Internet with high speed connections – 90% of them had over 7 years of computing experience – 57% of them had a Facebook account while only 33% used MySpace and 23% had a Xang or Ning account
  14. 14. Students’ Perceptions of the Use of a Social Network Course A Course B # Item (n=13) (n=17) M SD M SD I feel comfortable using the class social networking site. 1 3.08 0.76 3.05 0.25 My class social networking site allows me to interact and build a 2 3.46 0.51 3.12 0.33 learning community. My class social networking site allows me to personalize pages to 3 3.62 0.51 3.06 0.24 express individuality and creativity. My class social networking site allows me to pose questions to 4 3.54 0.52 3.12 0.32 the community. My class social networking site allows me to share photos, 5 3.62 0.51 3.11 0.70 music, and videos. My class social networking site allows me to hold forums to 6 3.62 0.51 3.24 0.44 discuss topics of interest. My class social networking site allows me to find and share 7 3.62 0.51 3.12 0.33 educational resources. Strongly Agree = 4; Agree = 3; Neutral = 2; Disagree = 1; Strongly disagree = 0
  15. 15. Students’ Perceptions of the Use of a Social Network Course A Course B # Item (n=13) (n=17) M SD M SD My class social networking site allows me to create study groups. 8 3.62 0.51 3.12 0.33 My class social networking site allows me to communicate with 9 3.62 0.51 3.00 0.61 classmates about course-related topics. My class social networking site encourages learner-centered 10 3.46 0.52 3.11 0.33 activities. My class social networking site provides collaborative learning 11 3.38 0.51 3.00 0.61 opportunities. 12 My class social networking site gives me a sense of belonging. 3.08 0.76 3.06 0.24 13 My class social networking site promotes knowledge sharing. 3.38 0.51 3.11 0.33 Strongly Agree = 4; Agree = 3; Neutral = 2; Disagree = 1; Strongly disagree = 0
  16. 16. Students’ Perceptions of the Use of a Social Network Course A Course B # Item (n=13) (n=17) M SD M SD 14 My class social networking site is user-friendly. 3.54 0.52 3.24 0.44 Social networking is a great tool for class communications. 15 3.69 0.48 3.23 0.44 Social networking can be used for professional development. 16 3.62 0.51 3.06 0.66 I will become more actively involved in courses that use social 17 3.77 0.44 3.11 0.33 networking. I would like to see more social networking class sites used in 18 3.65 0.51 3.11 0.81 other classes. My overall experience using the class social networking site is 19 3.77 0.44 3.00 0.00 positive. Strongly Agree = 4; Agree = 3; Neutral = 2; Disagree = 1; Strongly disagree = 0
  17. 17. Connectedness Subscale of CSS Course A Course B Combined # Item (n=13) (n=17) (n=30) M SD M SD M SD I feel that students in this course care about 1 3.38 0.50 2.82 0.64 3.07 0.64 each other. 3 I feel connected to others in this course. 3.23 0.60 3.06 0.66 3.13 0.63 5 I do not feel a spirit of community. 3.23 1.01 2.53 0.94 2.83 1.02 7 I feel that this course is like a family. 3.23 0.83 2.77 0.75 2.97 0.81 9 I feel isolated in this course. 3.15 0.90 2.83 0.88 2.97 0.89 11 I trust others in this course. 3.31 0.86 2.88 0.60 3.07 0.74 Strongly Agree = 4; Agree = 3; Neutral = 2; Disagree = 1; Strongly disagree = 0
  18. 18. Connectedness Subscale of CSS Course A Course B Combined # Item (n=13) (n=17) (n=30) M SD M SD M SD 13 I feel that I can rely on others in this course. 3.23 0.93 2.59 0.71 2.87 0.86 I feel that members of this course depend on 15 2.23 1.01 1.71 0.84 1.93 0.94 me. 17 I feel uncertain about others in this course. 3.00 0.71 2.24 0.75 2.57 0.82 19 I feel confident that others will support me. 3.31 0.63 2.59 0.71 2.90 0.76 Overall 3.13 0.65 2.60 0.29 2.83 0.54 Strongly Agree = 4; Agree = 3; Neutral = 2; Disagree = 1; Strongly disagree = 0
  19. 19. Learning Subscale of CSS Course A Course B Combined # Item (n=13) (n=17) (n=30) M SD M SD M SD 2 I feel I am encouraged to ask questions. 3.31 0.48 2.88 0.78 3.07 0.69 I feel that it is hard to get help when I have a 4 3.46 0.66 2.41 1.18 2.87 1.10 question. 6 I feel that I receive timely feedback. 3.15 0.90 2.65 0.70 2.87 0.82 I feel uneasy exposing gaps in my 8 2.92 0.95 2.00 0.94 2.40 1.04 understanding. 10 I feel reluctant to speak openly. 3.08 0.95 2.18 0.95 2.57 1.04 I feel that this course results in only modest 12 3.15 0.99 1.59 0.87 2.27 1.20 learning. Strongly Agree = 4; Agree = 3; Neutral = 2; Disagree = 1; Strongly disagree = 0
  20. 20. Learning Subscale of CSS Course A Course B Combined # Item (n=13) (n=17) (n=30) M SD M SD M SD 14 I feel that other students do not help me learn. 3.08 0.86 2.53 1.00 2.77 0.97 I feel that I am given ample opportunities to 16 3.38 0.65 2.42 0.71 2.83 0.84 learn. I feel that my educational needs are not being 18 3.23 1.17 2.53 0.87 2.93 1.05 met. I feel that this course does not promote a 20 3.61 0.51 2.53 0.80 3.00 0.87 desire to learn. Overall 3.23 0.54 2.37 0.44 2.75 0.65 Strongly Agree = 4; Agree = 3; Neutral = 2; Disagree = 1; Strongly disagree = 0
  21. 21. Age and Gender Differences • One-factor analysis of variance was used to investigate the differences in students’ age and gender on their social networking experiences as well as their sense of community • The results showed that no significant differences were found in students’ age and gender on their social networking experiences as well as their sense of community in terms of connectedness and learning.
  22. 22. Conclusion • The approach of designing and integrating a class social networking site into two courses were fun, worthwhile, and positive • Students had positive experiences using a social networking site in learning • Students found the class social networking site was user- friendly and gave them a sense of belonging • Students felt more actively involved in the courses that use social networking • The class social networking site can encourage learner- center activities, provide collaborative learning opportunities, and promote knowledge sharing
  23. 23. Conclusion • Using a social networking site in a class could build a sense of community among learners • Participants in Course A had a stronger sense of community in both connectedness and learning than participants in Course B – The length of time using a social networking site in a class could be a factor – Culture could play a role in a social networking since Course A was taught in US while Course B was taught in Hong Kong – Recommended for further investigation
  24. 24. The End Questions or Comments?
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