Making Connections: How Students Use Social Media to Create Personal Learning Networks

Sharon Stoerger (University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 18
EISBN13: 9781466626263|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1930-2.ch001
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In their personal lives, many students are using social media to create, communicate, and connect with others from around the world. Yet, the research suggests that students’ use of these tools in an academic setting is often minimal, at best. This chapter examines the use of social media by students to extend the learning beyond the formal boundaries of one fully online course. Using a social media tool, the students were instructed to follow individuals affiliated with the topics covered with this course throughout the semester. The purpose of this activity was to provide students with informal learning opportunities and enable them to make connections with individuals in the field. While a small number of students initially expressed frustration with the tools, as well as the quality and quantity of the content, the majority stated that this activity led to a greater understanding of the course topic.
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