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#OUSocMed 2017 - The role of social media in supporting student transitions in international distance education

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Slides from my OU Social Media 'unconference' talk

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#OUSocMed 2017 - The role of social media in supporting student transitions in international distance education

  1. 1. The role of social media in supporting student transitions in international distance education Jenna Mittelmeier Open University, UK @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  2. 2. http://ideaspartnership.org/ Twitter: @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS Team members: Adelino Chissale (University of South Africa) Melis Cin (Open University) Ashley Gunter (University of South Africa) Dianne Long (University of South Africa) Clare Madge (University of Leicester) Jenna Mittelmeier (Open University) Paul Prinsloo (University of South Africa) Parvati Raghuram (Open University) Katharine Reedy (Open University) Bart Rienties (Open University) Jekaterina Rogaten (Open University)
  3. 3. Larger project aims: 1. To examine how international distance education in South Africa offers equitable access to students in Africa. 2. To assess and improve the quality of international distance education and see how it varies among students. 3. To understand how social media can offer social, emotional and pedagogical support to students and enhance the quality of the learning experience outside of formal learning spaces. @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  4. 4. Project methods: • Learning analytics data from UNISA courses • Learning design mapping of UNISA courses • Questionnaires of ~1000 domestic and international students • Interviews with ~180 domestic and international students • Interviews with ~20 distance education experts across Africa @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  5. 5. Work so far: • Pilot round of questionnaires: 356 domestic and international students • Pilot round of interviews with 29 students • Preliminary analysis of learning analytics data • Learning design mapping of 5 modules •Workshop in Kenya with 35 education experts from 5 countries @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  6. 6. Questionnaire and interview sampling QUESTIONNAIRE • 356 STEM students at UNISA • 36 non-South African (10%) • 216 male (68%) • Ethnicities represented: Black (n = 228, 71%), White (n = 48, 15%), Indian/Asian (n = 17, 5%), Coloured (n = 12, 4%) INTERVIEWS • 29 of the interview participants • 4 non-South African (14%) • 18 male (62%) • Ethnicities represented: Black (n = 21, 72%), White (n = 4, 14%), Indian/Asian (n = 1, 3%), Coloured (n = 1, 3%) @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  7. 7. Measuring the student experience Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS • measures how well students manage the educational demands of the university experience. Academic Adjustment • measures how well students deal with interpersonal experiences at the university (e.g., making friends, joining groups) Social Adjustment • measures how well students maintain emotional equilibrium (particularly in the face of adjustment stressors), and indicates whether the student experiences general psychological distress or shows somatic symptoms of distress Personal Emotional Adjustment • assesses the degree of identification with and commitment towards the university Attachment
  8. 8. Measuring social media reflections • measures students’ reflections on using social media to make informal connections across their wider university experience Social media experience • measures students’ reflections on the explicit use of social media by their teachers for academic assignments Social media teaching @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  9. 9. Report Average Attachment Average Emotional Adjustment Average Academic Adjustment Average Social Adjustment Mean 7.3501 5.8149 6.3041 5.4059 N 320 320 320 320 Std. Deviation 1.41668 1.55333 1.24950 1.41779 Scores out of 9 Overall experiences @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  10. 10. @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  11. 11. Some of the factors impacting the experience •Solo study “I have to go through the study material alone and that sometimes gives me a breakdown, my minds just shuts down.” (questionnaire 328, female, domestic student) • Lack of contact with other students “I would say that it is hard to build relationships with other students if you are not close to any regional office. I wish there was an easier way.” (questionnaire 158, male, international student) •Physical distance from regional centres “I cannot attend [a face-to-face] tutorial because they start late and I'm staying far from the campus. I did not attend my practical at [location] campus because I can't afford the transport and accommodation.” (questionnaire 19, female, domestic student) • Access to resources “I have found it difficult to do some of my assignments due to the limited textbooks. I have failed to submit my assignment because I received the book late.” (questionnaire 258, female, domestic student) @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  12. 12. Social media averages Report Social Media Experience Social Media Teaching Mean 5.7068 6.7755 N 295 294 Std. Deviation 1.93805 1.96790 @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  13. 13. Transition experience and feelings towards social media Dimension Social Media in General University Experience Social Media in Teaching Experiences Attachment .312** .144** Emotional Adjustment .256** .083 Academic Adjustment .394** -.003 Social Adjustment .591** .195** @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  14. 14. @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  15. 15. Social media as… • an alternative access to resources. “It is useful for academic purposes because you check on the group facebook, whatever, you just check what courses they offer, what books you need to buy … and they will tell you, even if you don’t have that money someone will tell you ‘I’ve got this book for this much’, ja, it’s what we usually do on those social media.” (interview 1, male, domestic student) @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  16. 16. Social media as… • an academic support network in absence of a physical campus. “Students actually get back with some answers and suggestions sooner than lecturers.” (questionnaire 107, female, domestic student) “It helps me in terms of assignment and everything, the most important thing, ja, because sometimes when I am confused and I have a lot of people there and every time we have questions we just ask there and someone will know and answer.” (interview 19, male, domestic student) @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  17. 17. Social media as… • social or moral support. “Because I feel like I really move to something when I go to social media and I find out that I am not the only one with this thing, so also another person going through the same thing as me, or maybe I went through that thing and he or she passed.” (interview 12, male, domestic student) “At times you study and there is no one or at night you are alone, so if you need to talk to somebody about what you are experiencing or the problem that you might face, then … they are the ones that are helping me a lot.” (interview 4, male, domestic student) @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  18. 18. Social media as… • a space for personal expression. “It is a good tool because sometimes you just want to voice, well you want to see other peoples opinions because you have freedom of speech on those sites.” (interview 2, female, domestic student) @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  19. 19. Social media challenges • It can be distracting “I spend too much time on social media instead of doing my university studies and that affects my performance on other modules. I end up socializing with friends more often, forgetting about school and at the end of the day I have achieved nothing.” (questionnaire 103, male, domestic student) • It requires data and access to technology “It requires data more often to enable me to log in.” (questionnaire 97, male, international student) • It can be hard to find other students “I have no relevant contacts who can chat, discuss study materials except in [university VLE].” (questionnaire 112, male, international student) @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  20. 20. Social media challenges • It can be overwhelming “I was a part of a few [social media groups] earlier this year, but the messages and things became a bit more redundant and people post all day and everyday, and I am obviously working, then I get messages 24/7 so I decided to leave some of these groups because it was just a bit of time waste for me.” (interview 7, male, domestic student) •Student-to-student contact is not always sufficient “There aren't many ways to contact teachers or administrative staff through social media. And other students may not always be helpful.” (questionnaire 288, female, domestic student) •Some students preferred their privacy “I do not like my personal profile to be published in social media for everyone to know who I am. I would say I do not like public life.” (questionnaire, male, domestic student) @JLMittelmeier @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS
  21. 21. http://ideaspartnership.org/ Twitter: @ESRC_IDEAS #ESRCIDEAS Team members: Adelino Chissale (University of South Africa) Melis Cin (Open University) Ashley Gunter (University of South Africa) Dianne Long (University of South Africa) Clare Madge (University of Leicester) Jenna Mittelmeier (Open University) Paul Prinsloo (University of South Africa) Parvati Raghuram (Open University) Katharine Reedy (Open University) Bart Rienties (Open University) Jekaterina Rogaten (Open University)

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