The Use of Social Media as an Instructional Tool to Increase Marketing

The Use of Social Media as an Instructional Tool to Increase Marketing

Michael D. Richardson, Pamela A. Lemoine
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/ijtem.2015010105
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The technological revolution of the past two decades has changed communication in contemporary higher education settings. Consequently, there is now a wide gulf between the unlimited use of technology and higher education, particularly with respect to digital communications and the rapid increase in the use of social media in instructional applications. Technology offers college students an array of options to socialize, network, stay informed and connected, but technology proficiency may not be the same for instructors. As social media use by students becomes more established, educators in higher education are pursuing methods to parlay expertise in instruction to advertise and market higher education institutions. Can social media be used in higher education to improve learning through student and faculty collaboration, and just as importantly can the use of social media be used as a recruiting tool for higher education institutions?
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Educators in higher education have begun exploring alternative means of instruction including social communication tools designed for easy use, ease of use, instructional freedom, and constant online discussions (Brady, Holcomb, & Smith, 2010; Lee & McLoughlin, 2010; Webb, 2009; Yu, Tian, Vogel & Kwok, 2010). Social media is commonly defined as any media used to integrate technology into the lives of people to facilitate communication (DeAndrea, Ellison, LaRose, Steinfield, & Fiore, 2012; Ituman, 2011; Veletsianos, 2011). As social media has proliferated in society, more higher education institutions are using social media tools such as social networking, wikis, blogs, or video, to interact with or engage in students (Bayne, 2008; Elmannai, Odeh & Bach, 2013; Veletsianos, 2010). There is compelling evidence that social media can be a prized instrument for increasing student engagement (Martínez-Alemán, & Wartman, 2009). Increased engagement would also (Gupta, 2015; Iskender & Akin, 2013). Social media has the potential enhance student participation and improve student academic performance (Buzzetto-More, 2012; Chen & Bryer, 2012; Kirschner & Karpinski, 2010; Mastrodicasa & Metellus, 2013). The uses of social networks have increased exponentially in recent years although there is some controversy over the imbedded nature of social media in educational settings (Chang, Yu & Lu, 2015; Connell, 2009; Dron & Anderson, 2007; Ferguson & Tryjankowski, 2009; Greaves, Hayes, Wilson, Gielniak & Peterson, 2010; Schneier, 2010).

Social media sites provide connections enabling users to link to others, to send messages, to link to social networking sites enabling users to connect with friends and colleagues, to send mails and instant messages, to blog, to meet new people, to share pictures and information on common interests and to post personal information profiles (Fogel & Nehmad, 2009; Gikas & Grant; 2013; Greenhow, Robelia & Hughes, 2009; LaRose, Kim & Peng, 2010; Linder, 2009; Junco, 2011; Junco, Heibergert, & Loken, 2010; McCarthy, 2015). Jones and Shao (2011) explain that while first-time students entering higher education are particularly impacted by social networking technologies, services that support the uploading sharing and manipulation of media such as YouTube, and the use of mobile devices, students do not enter the university with particular demands for the use of new technologies. Further, they explain that “The gap between students and their teachers is not fixed, nor is the gulf so large that it cannot be bridged” (Jones & Shao, 2011, p 1).

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