Boundaries, privacy, and social
media use in higher education:
what do students think,
want and do?

Vanessa P. Dennen (@v...
Main Issues
Social media use in higher education
•  Context
•  Boundaries
•  Control
•  Curiosity
Research Questions
•  What types of communications and networking
technologies do students use for school versus
personal ...
Method
•  Online survey with closed and open ended questions
•  Participants recruited via study pool at large research
un...
Findings: Access & Use
•  90% own a smartphone
•  31% own a tablet
•  They use these devices for:
• 
• 
• 
• 

Email – 86%...
Findings:
Tool Use
Tool	
  
Text	
  Message	
  
Facebook	
  
Email	
  
Skype	
  
Pinterest	
  
TwiGer	
  
G+	
  
Blogs	
  ...
Findings:
Contacting Faculty
First	
  Choice	
  
Email	
  
Face	
  to	
  face	
  
Text	
  message	
  
Phone	
  
TwiGer	
  ...
Findings:
Students & PRofs
•  Look up information
•  Search engines – 67%
•  Facebook – 30%

•  Follow professors
•  Blog ...
FINDINGS: Social
media & courses
•  OK with required course social media use: 10%
•  Encourage instructors to use social m...
FINDINGS: Online
Coursework
•  Concerned about quality of work posted online: 52%
•  Remove online coursework at end of co...
Discussion
•  Students have some online boundary concerns and
issues
•  Want to use tools in some contexts, but not others...
Extensions
•  Current study considering Facebook use and
expectations
•  Friends, access, and boundaries
•  Impact on non-...
Thank you

Questions?

Contact:
vdennen@fsu.edu
@vdennen
vanessadennen.com

kburner@fsu.edu
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Boundaries, Privacy, and Social Media Use in Higher Education: What do Students Think, Want, and Do? (IR14 presentation)

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In this study, we examine university students’ beliefs and behaviors related to social media, identity, and boundaries in a higher education context. Findings suggest a complex and at times contradictory relationship between students and social media, in which they enjoy free access to information about and contributed by other people and freely share about themselves in a social or personal context, but are reticent to be active contributors in an academic context. Although students seek information about their instructors online, they do not believe that instructors might reciprocate. In contrast to a common assumption, they do not want to use social media in their coursework and prefer to restrict both their communication with instructors and coursework to private tools and settings.

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Boundaries, Privacy, and Social Media Use in Higher Education: What do Students Think, Want, and Do? (IR14 presentation)

  1. 1. Boundaries, privacy, and social media use in higher education: what do students think, want and do? Vanessa P. Dennen (@vdennen) Kerry J. Burner Presentation at IR14.0• October 2013 • Denver CO
  2. 2. Main Issues Social media use in higher education •  Context •  Boundaries •  Control •  Curiosity
  3. 3. Research Questions •  What types of communications and networking technologies do students use for school versus personal purposes? •  What are students’ beliefs about social media use, privacy, and boundaries in a higher education context?
  4. 4. Method •  Online survey with closed and open ended questions •  Participants recruited via study pool at large research university •  147 participants – 123 female, 24 male •  Analysis: •  Frequency distributions •  Coding content of open items
  5. 5. Findings: Access & Use •  90% own a smartphone •  31% own a tablet •  They use these devices for: •  •  •  •  Email – 86% Internet searches – 89% Social networking – 89% Academic activities - 80%
  6. 6. Findings: Tool Use Tool   Text  Message   Facebook   Email   Skype   Pinterest   TwiGer   G+   Blogs   Personal  Use   100%   94%   98%   71%   63%   59%   42%   33%   School  Use   64%   41%   98%   5%   2%   32%   28%   36%  
  7. 7. Findings: Contacting Faculty First  Choice   Email   Face  to  face   Text  message   Phone   TwiGer   Facebook   Percent   50.34%   42.86%   4.76%   1.36%   0.68%   0.34%   Overall   Rank   1   2   4   3   6   5  
  8. 8. Findings: Students & PRofs •  Look up information •  Search engines – 67% •  Facebook – 30% •  Follow professors •  Blog – 18% •  Twitter – 16% •  Become a contact •  Facebook – 37% •  Twitter – 11% •  Look for •  Course information – 94% •  Academic credentials – 76% •  Scholarly work – 24% •  Personal information – 14% •  63% did not believe profs would search for their information •  “THAT IS CREEPY”
  9. 9. FINDINGS: Social media & courses •  OK with required course social media use: 10% •  Encourage instructors to use social media: 29% •  Comfortable sharing personal info with class via social media: 20% •  Want to connect with classmates: 43% •  Want to connect with instructor: 10%
  10. 10. FINDINGS: Online Coursework •  Concerned about quality of work posted online: 52% •  Remove online coursework at end of course: 54% •  Instructor should be only audience for assigns: 67% •  Have learned from examples posted by other students online: 62%
  11. 11. Discussion •  Students have some online boundary concerns and issues •  Want to use tools in some contexts, but not others •  Want to observe, but not always be observed •  Refutes suggestion that social media use in education will motivate and excite students
  12. 12. Extensions •  Current study considering Facebook use and expectations •  Friends, access, and boundaries •  Impact on non-users
  13. 13. Thank you Questions? Contact: vdennen@fsu.edu @vdennen vanessadennen.com kburner@fsu.edu
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