Social Media Use in Higher Education

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What is it about social media that is so attractive to students, and could the motivational drive of social media for connectivity be used for positive educational purposes?

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Social Media Use in Higher Education

  1. 1. Social Media Use in Higher Education<br />A study by Michael Wilder<br />University of Nevada, Las Vegas<br />
  2. 2. Research Question<br />Why do students in university library computer labs spend time engaged in online social activities while also working on other educational tasks?<br />
  3. 3. Methods<br />In order to encounter previously unobserved cultural behaviors through open-minded exploration, the study lent itself to <br />qualitative research methods.<br />
  4. 4. Methods<br />Location:<br /> UNLV<br /> Lied Library <br />Information Commons & Computer areas<br />
  5. 5. Methods<br />Map<br />
  6. 6. Methods<br />Participants<br />College students<br />Primarily between eighteen and twenty three<br />One or two older than forty<br />Evenly divided gender<br />Mixed ethnicities (African American, Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic, Pacific Islander)<br />
  7. 7. Methods<br />Timeframe<br />Three half-hour observations<br />Wednesday, June 9, 2010, from 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.<br />Friday, June 11, 2010, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:00p.m.<br />Thursday, June 17, 2010, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.<br />Summer School<br />Second session<br />
  8. 8. Methods<br />Technique<br />Observed student on-screen activity in the labs by walking behind rows of computer tables and taking field notes<br />Interviewed four students that were engaged in social media<br />Interviewed a reference librarian<br />
  9. 9. Data Analysis<br />Taxonomy<br />Student activity categories<br />Information finding<br />Information processing<br />Artifact creation<br />Knowledge assessment<br />Social interaction<br />
  10. 10. Data Analysis<br />Domain analysis<br />
  11. 11. Data Analysis<br />Interview Questions<br />How often do you check your social media account?<br />How often do you keep social media Web sites active while simultaneously working on educational tasks?<br />Do you perceive any negative effects of using social media on your educational performance?<br />What is it about social media that is so attractive?<br />
  12. 12. Data Analysis<br />Representative interview responsesHow often do you check your social media account?<br />“I check my Facebook page at least five times in a sitting.”<br />“I check my Facebook page at least every thirty minutes.”<br />
  13. 13. Data Analysis<br />Representative interview responses<br />How often do you keep social media Web sites active while simultaneously working on educational tasks?<br />“Facebook is usually on the entire time I’m writing a paper.”<br />“I use it as a kind of break in between paragraphs…a little escape from the homework.”<br />
  14. 14. Data Analysis<br />Representative interview responses<br />Do you perceive any negative effects of using social media on your educational performance?<br />“I started getting into Facebook last year, and I’m pretty much getting straight A’s, so I haven’t seen any adverse effects to my studying since I’ve used it.”<br />
  15. 15. Data Analysis<br />Representative interview responses<br /> What is it about social media that is so attractive?<br />“I feel connected even though I’m stuck in the library, not having a life.”<br />“My friends are readily available.”<br />
  16. 16. Findings<br />Student online activity in a university library can be placed into five categories.<br />Some students multitask/rapid task switch.<br />Facebook is the online social media application of choice (over Twitter or Myspace).<br />Ten to twelve percent of students are on Facebookat any given time.<br />
  17. 17. Findings<br />Students are attracted to social media because:<br />They can communicate with family and friends;<br />They can receive inside information not available elsewhere;<br />They can take a momentary mental escape from educational tasks;<br />They can feel connected with peers even though they are isolated.<br />
  18. 18. Conclusion<br />The need to interact and feel connected is a primary characteristic of our society.<br />As educators, we can capitalize upon this drive for connectivity by building opportunities for communication and collaboration in our online curriculum.<br />
  19. 19. Conclusion<br />If we can incorporate social media techniques in our online courses, perhaps we can engage students in a networked community of learning.<br />Otherwise, our students will feel the need to be connected elsewhere.<br />
  20. 20. Author Contacts<br />This presentation by:<br />Michael Wilder<br />Learning Technologies Specialist<br />E-mail|Web Site<br />

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