An unsuccessful edX study suggested that students’ uninterrupted attention spans for 6.5 minutes. Many people are interested in being “the best multitaskers in the world,” but “in fact, they are not very good at it,” said Stanford President John Hennessy during a virtual program summit on the Web. If you want online Alert training to be successful, “you need to make sure you trigger Alert to get your attention.”
Online education is developing very fast. In the fall of 2011, Stanford University offered three of its online courses for free to anyone. About 160,000 students from 190 countries participated in one course alone. As of June 2014, there were already 2,600 such courses in the world – 327% more than in 2013. Today we are seeing a real revolution in world education. Online courses are now offered by universities around the world. Therefore, the Worldwide pedagogical methodology must meet these changes. The use of digital teaching methods in the world is highly effective and is an example of education in implementing distance learning technologies.
As it is noted, Facebook has just started testing online learning, which means there is no research on how social media is used successfully in audiences. At the same time, Facebook is the most popular social network, but it is not yet clear whether it is an effective learning tool.
Students’ work capacity, inclusivity and accessibility, innovation and quality of education are among the main priorities of modern higher education. Social media, as an online learning platform, can address all these issues. Why is it important to integrate the use of social networks into the university learning process?
Reason 1. Social media promotes active learning
The positive effect of active learning in the audience compared to traditional lectures has been scientifically proven. Research on active learning has shown much lower levels of underperformance during the courses and has significantly increased the effectiveness of passing the tests.
It was found that the average level of unsatisfactory results decreased from 34% (traditional lectures) to 22% (active training), while the efficiency of passing tests increased by almost 50%. The results of another study showed that the average of passing exams increased by about 6% due to active learning, and students who attended traditional lectures were 1.5 times more likely to be defeated than those who participated in active training.
Reason 2: Using social networks while studying increases student satisfaction
In a survey of student satisfaction, 90% of respondents agreed with the statement, “I really enjoyed online learning” (47% agreed, 43% agreed) and only 1% disagreed. With the statement “I feel that I would have learned more if the whole course of physics had been taught in an interactive style,” 77% agreed and only 7% disagreed. As Facebook is the most popular social network among students, social media and education during classes can improve student satisfaction and engagement.
Reason 3. Social media can promote accessibility
Students can access online courses no matter where they live or how much free time they have. This could potentially help to re-evaluate the learning opportunities for those who were least successful in traditional classes. In addition, through the use of artificial intelligence (AI), online platforms can provide the optimum pace and content of the course to suit each student’s needs, enhancing the quality of education and learning. Social media and students can improve accessibility and inclusivity for different groups of students.
Reason 4. Social media can increase the course rate
There is also research that finds that the quality of education will decline significantly through online learning. Philosophy teachers at San Jose State University say that replacing traditional courses with free, open-source online programs will reduce the quality of education provided to their students. Enrollment in MOOC is traditionally high, but student retention and completion rates are low.
A 2013 study found that only about 5% of students in Coursera’s seventeen courses had completed their studies, and those who were most successful had already graduated, but this was not the target audience for which MOOCs were primarily assigned. This is why many teachers criticize online learning. It is important to find ways to use this technology to help educators work. Initiatives that share this view of technology appear to be successful.
Reason 5. Social media can be a key factor in student employment
A major study by the British Council of University Graduate Employment found that “regional employers complain about a lack of basic, technical and replaceable skills”. In response to this concern, two new areas of university studies have emerged to increase employment. Social media can help universities meet employers’ expectations.
Reason 6. Social involvement
Another important study has shown that the key to successful education and writing essays is a community and social inclusion. Obviously, basic social functions, such as negotiation tables, messaging and social networks, are not enough to drive engagement. This can potentially increase the value of using social networks as a means of communication in the classroom.
Reason 7. Friends help you learn
Students are not inclined to focus on academic performance when choosing friends, but over time, the academic performance of friends becomes similar, as researchers at the HSE has found out. This usually happens in the midst of friendship in the middle of the school year.
Students whose social environment consisted of those who (as a sample) studied “good” and “excellent” gradually improved their academic performance. Thus, the initial formation of a friendly relationship with a student with high abilities and receiving high marks can have a positive effect on the friends of this student. At the same time, the initial formation of a relationship with a student with low abilities can subsequently have a negative effect on his peers, that is, reduce their academic performance.
Also, the authors of the study emphasize, despite the fact that “bad” students have a stronger influence on their environment than “good” students, high-rated students become more popular and more active in a social network over time and their influence spreads more widely. They can help their surroundings, contribute to improving the general level of knowledge of the course.
People are more actively involved in the formation of a social group: they often call more friends. In general, all students tend to be friends with classmates whom they knew before entering the university, with representatives of their gender and classmates.
Networked social services and media have become the main means of communication, support and development of social contacts; joint search, storage, editing and classification of information; creative activities of a network nature and writing essay; performing many other tasks like writing an argumentative essay on social media. Their group, as social networks, provide the following tools to perform the above functions:
– groups (academic, research, by interests);
– file sharing (lectures, assignments, programs);
– publication of materials (video, photo, links to external resources);
– discussion, polls, alerts, applications (translator, calculator, stickers, etc.)
For most students, Internet technology is a familiar technology, so teachers do not need to teach them how to work or do their papers. Teachers and students have the opportunity to create their own educational correction, to transform it, to rethink the discussion.
The benefits of social networking in higher education
Social media is not all memes and political debates. This gives you a great opportunity to interact with students and graduates.
More and more students are turning to social networks to help them with their choice of school for college and university.
Platforms such as Instagram give prospective students the opportunity to see what life is like in different schools – from dormitories to classes, holidays and outdoor walks.
One of the great examples of such behind-the-scenes content is Harvard. The Ivy League school with 1.3 million followers currently has one of the most popular Instagram accounts on any university, and there is every reason.
They do a great job giving their followers a deep look at what a student’s life with their Instagram stories looks like. For example, here is a story showing what the day of entry looks like.
In general, the use of social networks in educational activities has many advantages, namely: “a familiar environment; all members of the network create online learning content; opportunity to work together; presence of a forum, “wall”, chat; each student participant can create their own blog; the ability to track the activity of participants.
Let’s consider some of them in more detail:
- Obtaining information about the class schedule, training, tasks, assessment results, etc.
- Working with documents – chat rooms / groups on Facebook and Telegram – the best opportunity to upload, store and distribute large amounts of information (among other things – photos and videos that a journalist can immediately publish, and a teacher – to transfer to students without additional means like a USB stick).
- Video Communication – let’s teach and share with students and provide online tutoring.
- Accessibility and ease of use, high involvement of students and teachers in social networks.
- Searching and analyzing information, which is one of the journalist’s main tasks and puts additional demands on the teacher, forcing him to regularly monitor the Internet for the detection of new training materials.
- Teachers become more accessible to students who can ask questions and promptly answer, which greatly speeds up and improves the learning process.
- Make it possible for students who feel a certain fear or discomfort to speak in public.
- Supervision of tasks and notification of students about the deadline.
- Vote for the best projects (under the Latest Media course, students create their own blog on WordPress and promote their articles through Facebook, as well as do surveys to identify the best materials that are an effective way of developing healthy competition for them).
In order to create a positive image of the teacher and the university in which he / she works, the latter should adhere to the basic moral and ethical rules of conducting his page and communicating with students on social networks. Among them are:
- Regularly share information about useful articles, research, competitions and opportunities for journalism students, thus engaging the latter and encouraging them to study outside the university program.
- Communicate with students on an equal footing while maintaining distance. Social networks bring people closer, erasing barriers to communication. Therefore, the teacher should be careful not to allow students to communicate too freely, which will ultimately affect their attitude in the real world.
- Stop any discussions that do not relate to a specific topic and may defame and offend other students or colleagues.
- Teachers need to be careful about their account privacy settings and not add “friends” to strangers.
- The teacher’s page on social networks is his face. Therefore, it is worth watching the content published here, always remembering that it is read by students.
The importance of any social network is to organize communication between people, to be able to meet their basic social needs, to establish relationships with friends, family and relatives. Not only do social networks help to relax and spend time, they also disseminate information, find the right contacts, create a brand for a product or corporation, get social benefits, and above all, they have a great educational potential that is currently under study. In the context of the educational process in universities, social networks provide the opportunity for additional counseling, informality, accessibility, simultaneous communication with tens and hundreds of people and more. As a consequence, there is a significant acceleration of information dissemination and constant monitoring of tasks, which allows for optimal cooperation between the teacher and the student in the educational institution. Social networks are especially important in teaching journalism disciplines, as the profession itself is changing rapidly, not least due to social networks. And this requires teachers to understand the specifics and work as efficiently as possible on various online platforms.
Analysis of social networks in the student community is, of course, a promising area of research. For example, it is of interest to what extent the specific features of the worldwide education system (fixed student groups, a combination of paid and budgetary recruitment, the anti-culture of writing off each other common in the student community) affect student interaction and co-educational effects. The question remains unclear to what extent student relations are due to random reasons such as a neighborhood in a hostel or distribution into one student group, and to what extent students consciously make new acquaintances in order to gain advantages during studies or help with employment after graduation. To what extent is the effect of the number of connections manifested and to what extent – of quality? Difficult for analysis, but very promising is the question of the simultaneous and mutual influence of different networks (friendship and mutual assistance networks between classmates at the university, contacts with teachers, contacts outside the educational institution, family ties).