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Social Networking Sites and the Edu-Social Experience in Higher Education Institutions

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posted on 09.09.2022, 13:46 authored by Nourhan Hamdi

 Social  Networking  Sites  arebecoming  an integral part  of  modern  educational  activities. Therefore, this researchaims  to  comprehensively  investigate  how  the  usage of SNSsaffects the educational and social experience of students and educators in higher education. The  study  also  explores  opportunities  and  challenges  facing  SNS  as  an  educational  tool, and  aims  to  bridge  a  technology-based  factor,  i.e.,  SNS,  with  social  factors,  across  an educational   theoretical   framework. The researchintends   to   answer threeresearch questions: (1) Howdo  faculty  and  students  view  and  use  SNS  in  higher  education institutions?   (2)   How   does   using   SNS   in   higher   education   institutions   affect   the educational  and socialexperience?  (3) What  are  the opportunities  and challenges  facing SNS, as a learning tool,in higher education institutions?The  study  is  based  on  the  theoretical  foundations  of  the  Community  of  Inquiry  (CoI) frameworkthat  was  developed  by Garrison  et  al. (2000)as  aninstructional  design  modelfor  e-learning.  Its  purpose  is  to  provide  a  framework  for  the  use  ofcomputer-mediatedcommunicationin   supporting   educational   experience.The   CoI   is   defined   as   the intersection of social, cognitive, and teaching presences,and wasadopted in this research to conceptualise educational experience.Acase  study strategyis employed,and  mixed data  collection  and  analysis methods  were conductedover four consecutive stages. First, a  web application was developed to extract the  interaction  that  is  taking  place  on  the  CMT  Facebook  group.  The  application  is designed  to  help  in  classifying  and analysingthe  extracted  data  using  content  analysis techniques. Second, findings   of   the   content   analysis   helped   in   devising   structured questionnaires that  were  used to  survey 525 students.This  data  wasanalysedthrough descriptive  statistics, correlation  and  regression  models. Third,  semi-structured  interviews were conducted with21faculty members at CMT.Finally,fivefocus groups with 30 CMT students were conducted.The data obtained fromonline interaction and questionnaires was triangulated with the data gathered  from  interviewsand  focus  groups. Results  show  that  Facebookis extensively used  as  a  non-formal learning  toolfor  various  college-related  activities. Findings  indicatethat Facebook  substantially satisfiessocial and  teaching dimensions  of  the educational experience,but despite  this,itsuse  as  a  platform  that  supports  intellectual  discussions proved  to  be  insufficient.The  study  shows  interesting  results,  such  as  the  appearance  of implicit   types   of   interaction,and   how the   nature   of   different   courses affects   its compatibility  to  be  taught using Facebookaffordances. Moreover,  some  issues  related  to students‘and faculty members‘privacy emerged as concernsfor using Facebook in higher education. The  study  concludes  with  contributions  to knowledge  and  to  practice,and finally, recommendations were proposed to effectively use SNS in parallel with traditional learning management systems. 



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