Social Media and Use of Technology in Higher Education

Social Media and Use of Technology in Higher Education

Alex Kumi-Yeboah (University at Albany - SUNY, USA) and Herbert Blankson (Dalton State College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5631-2.ch041
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Social media has, in the past decade, transformed the way students and faculty communicate in the teaching and learning process. The teaching and learning process in higher education is currently experiencing a technological revolution. This is mainly because social media is presently used as a tool by faculty and administrators to communicate with students inside and outside of the classroom. In this chapter, descriptive statistics are used to analyze secondary data on the trend of faculty use of social media by discipline, demographics, and number of years. It also analyzes the use of social media sites, barriers to the use of social media sites, as well as faculty use of social media in higher education. Results show that less than 50% of faculty use social media for instruction. Overall, younger faculty (under 35 years) report the use of SMT 55.7% more than older faculty (55 and above years). Faculty in Arts and Humanities indicate a higher use of social media than all disciplines. There is a strong correlation between faculty use of social media for professional and pedagogical purposes. The majority of faculty use SMT more often for personal reasons than instructional purposes. Results indicate that there is a high faculty awareness of social media use in higher education in recent years, and issues of privacy and integrity of online student submissions emerge as barriers to faculty use of social media.
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Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, SlideShare, Flickr, Podcasts, YouTube, WIZIQ, and LinkedIn allow people to connect to other users. In higher education, social media consists of using technological tools such as Blogs, Wikis, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, SlideShare, Flickr, Podcasts, YouTube, WIZIQ, and LinkedIn. The aforementioned provide a means of communication between faculty and students. Social media are virtual places where people share information. Everybody, and anybody, can share anything anywhere and at anytime (Joosten, 2012). Registered users have the ability to post, upload photographs about what they are doing at any time, as well as send messages to people when they choose to do so. The use of social media among young adults is growing rapidly in the United States (Pempek, Yermolayeva, & Calvert, 2008). In 2010, it was reported that about 72% of all college students have an established social media profile with 45% of them using these social media sites at least once a day. More so, about 57% of social network users are in the age group of 18-29 years (Lenhart, Purcell, Smith, & Zickuhr, 2010). In the United States, it is estimated that about 66% of online users are adults (Smith, 2011), while 73% of teenagers (between 12 -17) use social media (Lenhart, Purcell, Smith, & Zickuhr, 2010).

Table 1.
The landscape of social media users (2012)
Social Network Site% of Internet UsersAdults Ages 18-29, Women
Use FaceBook67%Women, adults ages 18-29
Use Twitter16%Adults ages 18-29, African-Americans, urban residents
Use Pinterest15%Women, adults under 50, whites, those with some college education
Use Instagram13%Adults ages 18-29, African-Americans,
Latinos, women, urban residents
Use Tumblr6%Adults ages 18-29

Note. Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Post-Election Survey, 2012

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