The Integration of Social Networking Services in Higher Education: Benefits and Barriers in Teaching English

The Integration of Social Networking Services in Higher Education: Benefits and Barriers in Teaching English

Lenny Marzulina, Akhmad Habibi, Amirul Mukminin, Deta Desvitasari, Mohd Faiz Mohd Yaakob, Doni Ropawandi
DOI: 10.4018/IJVPLE.2018070104
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Social networking services (SNSs) have been popular and essential media to increase lecturer-student interaction, collaboration, and communication as well as lecturers' supervision in Indonesian universities including in teaching English as a foreign language (EFL). This mixed method study utilized a survey and interview as the techniques of data collection which specifically explored the lecturers' perspectives on the use SNSs for personal and educational purposes as well as demographic information related to the experience and frequency using SNSs, ownership (possession) of SNSs, and SNSs popularity. The findings revealed that the participants had much knowledge and experiences with SNSs. Even though most participants found some benefits of SNSs in EFL classes including easing communication, supervision and evaluation, time flexibility, and creativity. There were two barriers that have emerged, including lack of skill and cost to use. Implications and future research are offered to improve technology integration in higher education.
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Technology has provided eases, applications, approaches, and strategies in education with its features. The success of technology integration in any educational programs is dependent on users’ attitudes and perceptions. The establishment of new technology integrations for the improvement of education has been a significant issue to have influences on how education is perceived, implemented, and evaluated. This integration has been an interesting object of research in higher education (e.g., Hamshire & Cullen, 2014; Georgina & Olson, 2008; Mncube, Dube, & Ngulube, 2017; Beldarrain, 2006). One of many technologies which are integrated in higher education is Social networking services (SNSs). Robbin and Singger (2014) informed the utilities of the examples of SNSs such as massaging (WhatsApp, BBM, Telegram), images sharing (Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest), videos sharing (Vine, YouTube), audios sharing (iTunes, Sticher), micro blogging, (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Path), blogging (Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress), professional sharing (LinkedIn), and academic sharing (Google Scholar, Academia, ResearchGate).

Although, SNSs establishment was firstly proposed to establish a social interaction, the purpose has currently become popular in higher education (Greifeneder, Pontis, Blandford, Attalla, Neal, & Schlebbe, 2018) which has values on supporting relationships between lecturers and their students for learning, educators’ professional development, and content and knowledge sharing (Manca & Ranieri, 2013, 2016). Despite many educational values of SNSs in higher education, barriers in using SNSs for university lecturers have also emerged (Habibi, Mukminin, Riyanto, Prasojo, Sulistiyo, Saudagar, & Sofwan, 2018; Manca & Ranieri, 2013; Prasojo, Habibi, Mukminin, Muhaimin, Ikhsan, Taridi & Saudagar, 2017; (Hadiyanto, Mukminin, Arif, Fajaryani, Failasofah, & Habibi, 2017).

In addition to the SNSs establishment in higher education, they also become a thought-provoking topic for a foreign language pedagogy including teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) where many EFL researchers conducted research in this area (Fewell, 2014; Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010; Prasojo, Habibi, Mukminin, Muhaimin, Ikhsan, Taridi & Saudagar, 2017). Mondahl and Razmita (2014) informed that foreign language learning is a collaborative and individual learning process that can be mediated through the use of SNSs. SNSs have been widely integrated in supporting language teaching and learning since they have decreased other responses of physical activities offering limitless opportunities for communication (Fewell, 2014).

For the Indonesian context, the studies on SNSs in educational settings of higher education informed various benefits and barriers viewed from students’ perspectives (Habibi et al., 2018; Prasojo et al., 2017). However, research on the SNSs integration from the perspectives of universities lecturers is limited and to fill the gap, this study was done to answer the following questions:

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