Use of Social Media for Teaching Online Courses and Enhancing Business Communication Skills at the University Level: Can This Really Be Done?

Use of Social Media for Teaching Online Courses and Enhancing Business Communication Skills at the University Level: Can This Really Be Done?

Corie Haylett (Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJOPCD.2016100105


This study reviews the literature on the advantages, disadvantages, best practices, communication challenges, and benefits of using social media for teaching online, particularly the enhancement of essential business communication skills. Social media tools for teaching online are varied, plentiful, and easily accessible to teachers and students. Nevertheless, educators cannot assume because social media is an appropriate technology, it will essentially involve learners and enhance student achievement. This study, therefore, will examine the literature that reported positive effects of social media for teaching online, as it relates to learners' achievement and engagement, as well as literature showing a negative relationship or showing no conclusive evidence that there exists any relationship between the two. The findings of the review will reveal there is irrefutable evidence to suggest the use of social media for teaching online has a positive relationship to learner engagement, however, a negative relationship to learner achievement.
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Introduction And Background

MySpace, Friendster, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Cloud Works, and Ning are some of the major examples of the comparatively new marvel of online social interaction. Individuals of every age are flocking the Internet and signing up for social interaction sites by thousands. Facebook, for example, swanked 901 million active users every month, and around 125 billion comrades were reported having connection by the end of March in 2010 with an estimated increase of 27 percent from year to year (Ahmed & Qazi, 2011; Shao, Ross, & Grace, 2015). This social media popularity is steadily growing. Therefore, teachers are set to maximize this advantage of the manifold collaboration tools, as well as, discussion opportunities offered by social interaction sites for higher and secondary education (Ahmed, Amir, Qazi, & Jabeen, 2011; Manca & Ranieri, 2016).

Although there is inadequate guidance on the way teachers can incorporate social media into subjects that have conventionally been taught through face-to-face, instructors are on the search for information concerning harmful effects or potential benefits of using social networking sites as a modern and innovative method to attempt to engage learners and advance student achievement. This effort is backed up by Ahn (2011) who claimed that the importance of Facebook's interaction and social communication capacities can be of a great help to students and teachers through tapping into a variety of learning styles, offering an alternative to conventional lecture format, establishing a connected classroom community as well as increasing student-teacher and student-student communication. A study conducted by Balakrishnan and Chin Lay (2016), suggests “students are in favor of using social media for learning” (p. 816). Therefore, if instructors are inspired to implement social media tools into the classrooms, then the study question, which seeks to be asked and discussed in this study, will entail the pros, cons, best practices, communication challenges and benefits of such move.

For the objectives of this study, social media for teaching online will be explained as web oriented services, which allows people to establish a semi-public or public profile, exhibit the names of other users who they share a link, view and circumnavigate through their connection lists as well as those created by others in the system (Ajjan & Hartshorne, 2008). Social networking could be viewed as a means of explaining the organization of daily practice of social connection such as those happening in family structures, among friends, neighborhoods and in communities (Akyildz & Argan, 2010). With the presence of online social media, these activities of social networking are taken a notch higher to the technological level that enables for social networking within families, in neighborhoods, between friends and communities and across the globe through the establishment of online communities.

The majority of social media for teaching online integrate a variety of communication tools including mobile connectivity, video or photo sharing and blogs with several platforms posting across to one another in case their users desires to. For example, a teacher or student could put a comment on Facebook, and it would appear on their education or private social networking sites such as Twitter. Currently, numerous scholars use this cross-interaction of social networking sites for purposes not related to academic (Alloway & Alloway, 2012; Manca & Ranieri, 2016).

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