The Value of Using Social Media to Form Ties with Students

Subject: Entertainment & Media
Pages: 10
Words: 2588
Reading time:
10 min
Study level: Bachelor

Abstract

The research proposal entails different sections that help justify that social media has great value when it comes to helping to form ties with students in another campus class in a technical communication class. The paper contains an introduction that gives the reasons why the research was done. The introduction mentions the background of the problem that led to the research. Also, the methods of collecting data are identified and explained, among them administering questionnaires and interviews to 50 students in a total of five lecturers and two people from the administration. The interviews and the questionnaires were done either physically or online.

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Later, the results of the findings from the research are evaluated to enable come up with various recommendations that are also explained. The findings come out from the students, the lecturers, and the administrators, and this response helped to create recommendations that justify the reasons for engaging in research.

Introduction

The people in the world today have become busy and physical interactions have become minimal, particularly now that the universe has been hit by the deadly Corona Virus. Students and their learning styles have not been an exception since they are equally affected, and the learning process has become challenging. Most learners have been forced to halt their learning or been forced to try out other methods to make their education a success.

Technology has been a solution though most learners do not consider it valuable to make use of it to make their learning easier. For instance, it is stated that “social media has become integrated into the fabric of the scholarly communication system in fundamental ways, principally through scholarly use of social media platforms and the promotion of new indicators on the basis of interactions with these platforms” (Sugimoto et al. 2037).

Now that the effects of Covid 19 are felt, exchange programs and discussions that students hold with others from a different campus have become almost impossible. The difficult epidemiological conditions of 2020, which entailed the isolation necessary to ensure the safety of citizens, and the closure of all public spaces, made network resources one of the main channels of communication, and ways of communicating on various issues, including continuing education. In addition, the use of media, and new information technologies in teaching is becoming more and more common in modern education.

Universities are implementing various online platforms in their work to develop educational communications between students and educators. As a rule, the materials generated on these resources are understood as teaching or having educational potential, but often they do not have these qualities. Processes presented in a concentrated form during offline learning, such as assimilation of knowledge, development of skills, consolidation of skills, formation of motivation, provision of control, and verification and evaluation of the effectiveness of training, are practically not represented in the aggregate in the online environment. This leads to finding trying to enlighten the students, guardians, and educators that social media is valuable to the learning process. The research focuses on finding the value of using social media to bond with students in another campus from a technical- communication class.

Methods

Various methods were used to determine whether social media was helpful to students who wished to do an exchange program with students from another campus. Thus, the researcher used questionnaires, and physical and online interviews to find more information. Around 50 students were given questionnaires where they had to respond to different sets of questions. Among the questions, they were asked to rate the percentage in which social media was helpful to them. They were then grouped into two; those that mainly interact academically and those who did not use social media to engage with other students academically.

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Also, students were interviewed on how often they engaged in social media and whether they found it useful or not. The answers given differed since a number of students seemed not to have considered reaching out to other learners to discuss classwork. Others were enthusiastic about the use of online learning, and they gave different reasons as to why they found the method useful to them.

Results

After the interviews and administering of questionnaires, the following were the findings. Firstly, a number of students did not consider social media as a tool that can be used to learn. Most young people use their phone applications like what up, Instagram, Facebook, and Tik-Tok to entertain themselves and also communicate with their friends. They use these applications to connect with their friends and also form new friends around the world. It never clicks to most of them that they can use social sites for academic growth. The current literature supports the fact that “active collaborative learning and engagement through social media enriches the learning activities of students and facilitates group discussions, and hence, their use should be encouraged in learning and teaching processes in higher education institutions” (Al-Rahmi et al. 59).

In other words, students dismiss the very potential of social media as a powerful learning enhancer. In addition, the motivations of users can be a significant influencing factor, which impacts the ability to utilize the main capabilities of social media, except for its entertainment-based purposes (Manca and Ranieri 123). Therefore, the results are indicative of the lack of motivation among students, which would be able to enhance their learning process.

Secondly, it was found that most students considered the use of social media to be expensive. The use of social sites for learning purposes requires a good network connection for its effectiveness. However, most students may not manage to cater for the expenses since discussing with other students requires extensive learning, which they may not manage. For those who can access Wi-Fi connections, the charges are quite high, thus, the challenge to learn and share their knowledge in exchange programs. The use of resources of information and communication technologies, social networks as additional means of training, and forms of its organization create conditions for the modernization of education, ensures its accessibility and affordability, and the effectiveness and quality of training future specialists for professional activities.

Thirdly, the students argued that there are disruptions while they try to use social media for academic growth. Students are young people who lose their focus fast, especially when news and trending stories pop up. Social sites are normally loaded with information that is displayed every now and then. During an interactive class, something may pop up from a social site and interfere with the learning. Also, an individual is tempted to check the occurrences that appear involuntarily and, in the process, lose focus. Fourthly, young people have become addicts of social media and barely use it for other purposes but for communication and publicity.

They cannot take their time to find how to benefit themselves academically. Their aim is to communicate to both the known and unknown people and to display their false identities to seek publicity and fame. They spend much time trying to take selfies and perfect photos, which they Photoshop to gain more likes, followers, and ratings that happen on social media. Social sites have made young people forget about the value of social media to gain knowledge that is beneficial to them.

Moreover, the administration does not motivate them to use social media since they fear that too much use of phones and other electronic gadgets will encourage exam cheating. During school programs, rarely does the management allow learners to interact online during exchange lessons. They mostly assign them various tasks which they are advised to do while at home or when carrying out the research. The students do not take online learning seriously, making them relax and not consider the exercise important to them since institutions do not insist. Most institutions may know the importance of incorporating social media in their systems and take it seriously, but they fail to adapt it due to various reasons known to them, such as fear of incurring costs and exposing the learners to the world.

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Other students who used social media to form ties with students from different campuses considered online interactions useful to them. They said that the program helped them tope up their minds to a different level since other learners had something unique to share. The method was considered faster and more efficient where physical would not apply, particularly now that Covid 19 has destabilized physical learning. The exchange programs are no longer applicable; thus, learning and discussing online with other students has been accepted. These students appreciated the fact that the interactions were more enjoyable, and they could make new academic friends. The level at which they gained more knowledge for their academic advancement was commendable.

Recommendations

In the modern world, social networks are becoming increasingly popular in the educational process, contributing to the introduction of new ways and methods of teaching. Solving many problems with the help of network resources expands the capabilities of educational institutions. For example, this includes quickly finding and sharing information, connecting with students and educators in a timely manner, viewing the latest news feeds, organizing conversations about educational issues, project work, and much more.

At the same time, the positive potential of networks in the course of training can be leveled out by a number of negative aspects manifested in the subsequent behavior of young citizens, such as the development of Internet addiction, a decrease in physical activity, and deterioration in health, a decrease in literacy standards, a scattering of attention to other content, distortion forms of real interaction. It is obvious that the use of network resources in the educational process is dictated by modern living conditions, but at the same time, it should be dosed, being an auxiliary tool for educators and students.

Learners should be advised to value their learning and take advantage of advancements in technology to make their learning and discussions simpler. Young adults value entertainment more than their academics, but with the knowledge about them, the administration and guardians should intervene. They are supposed to advise them to find it important to exchange their knowledge for academic excellence. The evidence also supports the fact that social media can “improve the collaborative learning of students and enable them to efficiently share knowledge, information, and discussions” (Al-Maatouk et al. 1505).

Therefore, illuminating such a potential of using technological advancements for the enhancement of the learning process can bring significant improvements in student learning capabilities. It is important to note that social networks play a special role in education, contribute to the management of theoretical and practical knowledge of students, and all this is provided by the characteristics of networks.

First, is the convenience of distributing educational and methodological materials, which makes it possible to provide students with useful information on the subject in a short time. Secondly, the acquisition of practical skills through the communication capabilities of networks: the development of communication, teamwork, decision-making, situation analysis, student self-presentation, critical thinking, and planning of their activities. Thirdly, increasing interest and involvement in the educational process through the active introduction of interactive ways and work methods in the network space. Fourthly, students visit social networks on a stable basis, which helps to ensure maximum coverage of the audience with knowledge.

Consequently, social networks as an open platform for interaction of all participants in the educational process from the point of view of technical, pedagogical, organizational, and psychological aspects are convenient for the education system. At the same time, various mechanisms and tools for the implementation of student communication in social networks can also cause destructive consequences of such training.

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The administration should offer a good network to students or assist them with access online at a low cost to encourage students to engage in online discussions. Thus, a good budget should be made to ensure network installations and buying of more advanced gadgets that will make exchange programs more successful. For instance, in language learning and writing, it is stated that “these affordances of social media expand opportunities for second language learners to engage with writing in their daily lives and can enhance students’ writing development in classroom environments” (Zheng, Soobin, and Warschauer 1).

Thus, ensuring open and available access to these instruments is of paramount importance for helping students to utilize social media instruments to their fullest capacities in regard to learning. Network educational resources at the university offer various tools for organizing the educational process, such as the main strategic resources presented in the form of an educational portal with all information about the areas of training, access to library resources, the creation of personal accounts, and auxiliary or additional resources for communication between subjects through social networks, and email. Considering that the strategic resources created by the university are obligatory for use, and additional resources are used exclusively at the initiative of the participants in the educational process, the assessment of the capabilities of the auxiliary components, that is, social networks is of greatest interest.

Additionally, learners should be helped out from their social media addiction. There is a need to control how they use their phones to help them balance both the entertainment and edutainment that is garnered from social sites. Both the educators and guardians should engage learners in online discussions by encouraging them to participate rather than putting all their concentration on creating false identities on the online sites. The administration should embrace the technology and adopt its usage to their advantage. More interactions occur online than during physical exchange programs, and this boosts the intellectual level of the learners inside the school premises.

Thus, social networks are the most important auxiliary tool in the educational environment of the institution. Being a convenient, modern, and technological resource for the implementation of the educational process, they are able to solve many educational tasks of the educators, from the placement, storage, and transmission of information to the student audience to the organization of discussions, exchange of views, and project activities. The main advantage of social networks is the wide coverage of all students, even those who tend to ignore the educational process. At the same time, the unpreparedness of the teaching staff to work in the virtual space, the skeptical attitude of educators towards online learning, the lack of requirements for mastering this format of classes, and difficulties in the technical organization of this process can become constraining factors in the widespread use of social networks in the education system, which require further research.

It is justified that social media should be used to form ties with students from different campuses. Those who engage in such learning are likely to benefit greatly, unlike those who are not active participants. Students can share different opinions and also share new ideas and materials through social sites. They critique each other leading to the acquisition of more knowledge and help find solutions to various problems that each and every one of them has encountered during learning.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it can be stated that there are positive and negative consequences of using social networks in regard to learning. The findings suggest that a high percentage of learners can be positively influenced by the use of social media tools, which can enable them to control their own learning environment and enable them to share their knowledge with other students. In addition, social media can provide students with better opportunities to improve their educational quality scores. While students preferred to find other ways to use these tools, with the right affordability and guidance, the learning process could be significantly improved.

Work Cited

Al-Maatouk, Qusay, et al. “Applying Communication Theory to Structure and Evaluate the Social Media Platforms in Academia.” International Journal 9.2 (2020): 1505-1517.

Al-Rahmi, Waleed Mugahed, et al. “A model of factors affecting learning performance through the use of social media in Malaysian higher education.” Computers & Education 121 (2018): 59-72.

Manca, Stefania, and Maria Ranieri. “Networked scholarship and motivations for social media use in scholarly communication.” International review of research in open and distributed learning 18.2 (2017): 123-138.

Sugimoto, Cassidy R., et al. “Scholarly use of social media and altmetrics: A review of the literature.” Journal of the Association for Information Science and technology 68.9 (2017): 2037-2062.

Zheng, Binbin, Soobin Yim, and Mark Warschauer. “Social media in the writing classroom and beyond.” The TESOL encyclopedia of English language teaching (2018): 1-5.