Facebok in Education: Students, Teachers, and Library Perspectives

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WWW.JOURNALOFCOMPUTING.ORG                                                                                                      78

       Facebok in Education: Students, Teachers,
              and Library Perspectives
                                                Manar I. Hosny, Shameem Fatima

         Abstract— this paper explores the use and application of Facebook in academia. The study tries to give an insight into how
         Facebook and similar social networking sites can be used as a medium of communication to help students, teachers as well as
         the institution’s library. The aim is to encourage the use of Facebook to complement and enhance classroom teaching. We
         investigate the benefits of using such medium from the perspectives of the student, the teacher and the librarian. We then
         review some case studies where Facebook was used to promote the learning experience. In this paper, we try to derive
         conclusions about best recommendations and practices that academics can follow to improve teaching and learning through
         using Facebook and other similar social networking sites.

         Index Terms— E-learning, Facebook, Social Networking Sites, Web 2.0.

                                          ——————————                       ——————————


   T    HE term “Social Network” has been suggested by J.A.
        Barnes in 1954. It corresponds to a network of rela-
        tionships between different information processing
                                                                            world, resulting in the creation of a sophisticated envi-
                                                                            ronment of sharing and collaboration.
                                                                               Social networking websites such as Facebook, MyS-
   entities such as people, groups, and organizations. A So-                pace, Twitter and LinkedIn are popularly used by mil-
   cial Networking Site (SNS) is a type of websites with in-                lions of people to communicate with friends, family and
   dividual user profiles, forming a traversable networked                  colleagues. As of January 2012, Facebook has over 800
   community for social interaction [1]. A user profile con-
                                                                            million users around the world [3]. While in July 2011,
   tains personal information about each member, such as:
   name, gender, age, interests, etc. Social Networking Sites               Twitter has 250 million users, LinkedIn has 115 million
   (SNSs) bring people together and allow them to commu-                    users, and MySpace has 50 million users [4]. The users of
   nicate by making new friends, exchanging ideas and en-                   social networking sites create personal profiles through
   gaging in similar interests. These sites in general provide              which they connect to a group of other people, usually
   tools for posting messages, sharing photos, creating per-                known as friends, followers or connections. Users share
   sonal pages and groups. Besides communicating with                       links and multimedia content, and they can form sub-
   friends, social networking sites are increasingly being                  groups of common interests or goals, where they can en-
   used for business, advertisement or entertainment. They
                                                                            gage in active online discussions. The communication
   are also currently used to connect government entities
                                                                            between connected members may be public through their
   with people by posting announcements, taking votes and
   sharing opinions. Boyd and Ellison [2] define social net-                profiles, or private through personal messages sent be-
   working as:                                                              tween them.
   “Web based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a               Nowadays, there are several online social networking
   public or semi public profile within a bounded system, (2) arti-         sites that differ among each other in their layout, style,
   culate a list of other users with whom they share a connection,          functionality and purpose. Some countries have their own
   and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those            social networks such as StudiVZ (Germany), Qzone (Chi-
   made by others within the system.”                                       na), Maktoub’s Ashab (Saudi Arabia), and Mixi (Japan).
     Based on the above definition, social networking ap-
                                                                            Some social networking sites are dedicated to a specific
   pears as an approach to support a social or professional
   relationship of people among themselves or between                       area of interest of the users, such as professional profiles,
   groups of similar interests. The most common features                    art, music, and photo sharing networks. LinkedIn is dedi-
   include personal profile creation, uploading of photos                   cated to professional profiles, devianART is a social net-
   and videos, participation in groups, and message send-                   working site dedicated to art. Flickr is a social networking
   ing. SNSs currently attract millions of people around the                site for photo sharing, and Last.fm is dedicated to music.
                         ————————————————                                   Besides social, commercial and governmental usage, the
   • M.I. Hosny is with the Computer Science Department, College of Comput- omnipresence of social networking sites in our daily lives
     er and Information Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh,             can be exploited in academia as well. SNSs can be used to
     Saudi Arabia.
   • S. Fatima is with the Information Technology Department, College of
                                                                            create an interactive and transparent learning environ-
     Computer and Information Sciences, King Saud University.Riyadh, Saudi ment between teachers and their students, where they can
     Arabia.                                                                easily communicate and exchange information. In addi-
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 tion, since the success of any teaching and learning            links, websites and videos are briefly highlighted.
 process largely depends upon the availability of rich re-         Rodrigues et al. [6] discuss the potential of using SNSs
 sources, some academic libraries have created their own         to enhance the e-learning experience. The paper stresses
                                                                 the importance of e-learning in allowing students to be-
 library pages to reach students during and after their uni-
                                                                 come active participants who can share opinions, post
 versity study.
                                                                 resources and engage in productive discussions. Current-
   In this paper we will explore how social networking
                                                                 ly Learning Management System (LMS) software, is the
 sites can be used in teaching and learning. We specifically
                                                                 main application that is used for delivering course con-
 focus on the most popular SNS, Facebook, and how it can
                                                                 tents and interacting with students in an e-learning envi-
 be utilized from the above mentioned three perspectives:
                                                                 ronment. However, LMS applications are usually charac-
 the teacher, the student and the library. We give examples of
                                                                 terized by having a rigid one-way learning platform,
 some case studies of academic institutions that have used
                                                                 where students access the contents designed and up-
 SNSs in education, and try to come up with recommenda-
                                                                 loaded by the instructor. This often results in the lack of
 tions about the best practices and applications that may
                                                                 interest and stimulation from the students’ side. From the
 be used to successfully exploit SNSs in teaching and
                                                                 authors’ point of view, social networking sites, such as
                                                                 Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Wikis and Blogs have a great
   The rest of this paper is organized as follows: Section 2
                                                                 potential in enhancing e-learning, since they provide a
 is short review of some related work that highlights the
                                                                 rich collection of features and applications that allow stu-
 importance of SNSs in education. Section 3 is an overview
                                                                 dents to play an active role by creating and sharing con-
 of some social networking sites that can be used in teach-
                                                                 tents. Thus, students can shape their own learning
 ing and learning. Section 4 focuses on Facebook and the
                                                                 process and develop a critical sense, through the interac-
 features that it provides, which can be used for educa-
                                                                 tion with people of different interests and opinions.
 tional purposes. Sections 5 and 6 explain the benefits of
                                                                    Griffith and Liyanage [7] explore social networking
 using Facebook from the perspectives of students and
                                                                 sites that can be used in education, giving insight into the
 teachers respectively. Sections 7 and 8 discuss the library
                                                                 positive and negative aspects of using such media for
 and how Facebook can be beneficial to the librarian to
                                                                 teaching and learning. The study mainly focuses on Face-
 connect with students. Section 9 then gives an overview
                                                                 book and MySpace. It describes the features available in
 of some real applications in which academic institutions
                                                                 both networks, and similarities and differences in terms
 experimented with Facebook as a possible tool to enhance
                                                                 of services available to users and how the profile can be
 classroom teaching. Finally, Section 10 concludes this pa-
                                                                 customized in both. The study then explains briefly the
 per with some recommendations derived from the above
                                                                 benefits of using SNSs in education to complement class-
 analysis and final thoughts about the future of using
                                                                 room learning and to motivate students and encourage
 SNSs in education.
                                                                 active discussions among common interest groups. Ac-
                                                                 cording to the authors, among the limitations of using
 2 RELATED WORK                                                  SNSs, though, is the risk of information exposure, which
 Munoz and Towner [5] discuss the advantages of using            can lead to serious consequences. Another risk is the type
 Facebook in education, and the different methods and            of messages that may be posted on the wall, which may
 best practices that the teacher can use to enhance class-       sometimes become offensive.
 room learning. According to the authors, the reactions            A good guide for instructors on the benefits and use of
 towards using social networking sites in education are          Facebook in education can be found in [8]. This guide is
 mixed. Some feel that SNSs are not a suitable venue for         designed to help educators who want to get started on
 education, while others are in support of integrating Web       using Facebook to better connect and interact with their
 2.0 technology, like Facebook, Wikis and blogs, with edu-       students. There are several ways that an instructor can
 cation. The authors make a comparison between Face-             follow to successfully use Facebook for educational pur-
 book and other currently employed learning management           poses. To start with, educators must encourage students
 systems, like Blackboard. They concluded that many fea-         to follow Facebook guidelines, for example by not using
 tures available on Facebook, such as bulletin boards, in-       Facebook for students under 13 years of age. Educators
 stant messaging, online discussion, and the ability to post     must also stay up to date with safety and privacy settings
 photos and videos, mirror those available in Blackboard         of Facebook. They should encourage students to protect
 and similar courseware. Nevertheless, Facebook features         their privacy and be aware that there are special Facebook
 are distinguished with ease of use, frequent updates and        privacy settings for people under 18. Instructors should
 compatibility with different browsers. The research ex-         also promote good citizenship in the digital world, by
 plains some Facebook features that can be used for educa-       encouraging students to behave responsibly, protect each
 tion, such as profile page, creating a group for a class,       other, and report any abuse or bullying. To communicate
 discussion boards, and integrating Facebook applications.       with their students, instructors can use pages and groups
 Finally, the study gives recommendations about best prac-       features, rather than using their own personal profiles, in
 tice polices that the instructor can follow to avoid inva-      order to protect their privacy.
 sion of his/her privacy as well as the privacy of the stu-        In what follows we describe some social networking
 dents. In addition, some suggestions about how to engage        sites that can be used in the academic field to enhance the
 students in class activities and how to share documents,        teaching and learning experience.
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   3 SOCIAL NETWORKING TECHNOLOGY IN                               interaction between users and, therefore, is an excellent
     ACADEMIA                                                      means of advertising and broadcasting.
   As the mode of instruction changed from the traditional         MySpace: MySpace is a social network site similar to oth-
   classroom lecturing to the online interactive tutoring,         er networks such as Hi5 or Facebook. Users join the site
   educational institutions are currently under pressure to        by completing a profile describing personal interests,
   adopt new educational technology within their field.            through which they can choose among two types of pro-
   Nowadays, educational technology, such as WebCT and             files: a personal profile and a musician profile. MySpace
   Blackboard, are being used to help students perform bet-        provide features like: network of friends, blogs, similar
   ter and increase their productivity within the classroom,       interest groups, upload photos, upload music files and
   as well as to encourage them to become more engaged in          videos. The ability to upload music files has significantly
   the learning process. However, the availability of such         helped to increase the popularity of MySpace, becoming a
   tools put a tremendous pressure on students to cope with        well-known platform for artists’ promotion. The profile
   a more complex learning environment and new technolo-           information can be shared with others, depending on the
   gies that they have to become familiar with [9]. On the         privacy preferences of the individual, as well as the sup-
   other hand, the popularity and extensive use of social          ported features of the site.
   networking sites, like Facebook, Wikis, and blogs, can             Among the above mentioned SNSs, Facebook seems to
   now be used by teachers and students as an effective            be the most popular and most effective when it comes to
   communication tool inside and outside the classroom,            education. The reason is probably that the site is already
   without requiring that students learn a new technology,         used by a large number of teachers and students for social
   since most of them are already using one more of these          communication, and utilizing it in the teaching and learn-
   SNSs.                                                           ing process could be appealing to many students and
   In the academic field, social networking sites are mainly       teachers. Despite this, the use of Facebook in education
   used to create chat-room forums and groups to extend            still seems to be at an early stage. Some recent studies
   classroom discussions. In addition, they are used to post       have indicated the scarcity of using Facebook among stu-
   assignments, tests, quizzes, links, and extra resources.        dents and teachers for learning and teaching purposes
   Through SNSs, a teacher may take the students’ opinion          [11], [12], [13]. Thus, in this paper we try to highlight
   or feedback about certain course content, and can also          how Facebook can be utilized effectively to enhance class-
   send and receive messages to an individual or a group of        room teaching and promote a personal learning expe-
   students. The following are some social networking sites        rience for students. In what follows, we assume the read-
   that can be used in education:                                  er’s familiarity with the main Facebook features used for
   Facebook: In early 2004, Facebook was launched by Mark          social interaction. For more details about these features
   Zuckerberg, a former student of Harvard university. It          the user is referred to [8].
   was initially limited to college students at Harvard with a
   university email address [2]. Later, it spread like wild fire   4 USING FACEBOOK IN ACADEMIA
   and became the most popular and most visited website.              Facebook provides an excellent means of communica-
   Users of the site have to register before using the site, af-   tion between students and teachers during the lifetime of
   ter which they may create a personal profile, add other
                                                                   a course.
   users of the site as friends, and send and receive messag-                                TABLE 1
   es. Their friends also receive automatic notifications when                     COURSE TO FACEBOOK MAPPING
   they update their profiles, or upload photos or links. In
                                                                                        Course              Facebook
   January, 2012 the number of Facebook users is estimated
                                                                                      Course Profile          Profile
   to be over 800 million all over the world [3]. Besides social
   communication and group discussions, Facebook has a                               Course Content             Info
   large number of applications that users can engage in, the
   most popular of which are games and quizzes.                                       Course Events           Events
   Twitter: Twitter is a social network site that was estab-
   lished by Jack Dorsey in 2006 [6]. It is one of the top 10                       Students’ Groups          Groups
   most used sites in the world [10]. Twitter rapidly gained
   worldwide popularity, with over 250 million users as of                           Announcements         Status Update
   July, 2011[4]. The users of the site have to register before
   using the site. Once the user creates a profile, he/she can                      Group Discussions    Discussion Boards/
   posts updates and view updates posted by people he/she                                                   Online Chat
   follows. Twitter enables its users to post short messages
                                                                                         Emails              Messages
   called Tweets, which consist of a maximum of 140 charac-
   ters. Tweets usually express feelings, thoughts or activi-                                            Comment/Like/Ask
   ties of the users. Updates are displayed in real time so                                                 Questions
   that followers can be immediately notified with new in-
   formation as they happen. Many companies are currently                          Information Sharing         Share
   utilizing this resource as a means to advertise their prod-
   ucts, through constant updates. Twitter allows continuous
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 Table 1 shows a mapping between some course require-            learning offers many benefits that may help them perform
 ments and Facebook features that can be used to fulfill or      better and become active learners. The following is some
 facilitate the achievement of these requirements, as ex-        advantages of using Facebook from the students’ percep-
 plained below:                                                  tion:
 Course Profile         Profile: The teacher creates a course          •   It gives students the ability to communicate
 profile and adds students as “friends”. The course pro-                  with their teacher outside the classroom, which
 file is used to communicate with students via Facebook,                  may help establish a closer bond between them,
 by sending emails, messages, or posting on the partici-
                                                                          since the students feel that the teacher is availa-
 pants’ walls. For instance, a wall post on the course profile
                                                                          ble for them anytime they need him/her.
 may include certain class announcements posted by the
 teacher, or a homework inquiry posted by a student.                   •   It allows students to actively engage in the
 Course Content            Info: Dissemination of course re-              learning process, contrary to being negative re-
 lated information, such as the syllabus, the text book,                  cipients of material presented to them orally in
 instructor contact information, and links to some useful                 the classroom.
 resources.                                                            •   It gives students a sense of reliability and ac-
 Course Events           Events: The events feature in Face-              countability.
 book may be used to announce activities such as presen-               •   It gives students who are shy to participate and
 tations by students, seminars, trips, conferences, etc. They
                                                                          speak aloud in the classroom the opportunity to
 may also be used to announce weekly assignments,
                                                                          express their thoughts through writing.
 quizzes, tests, or evaluations.
 Students’ Groups          Groups: A number of group pag-              •   It helps students to improve their writing skills,
 es may be created specifically for a course. Groups allow                since they will practice expressing their thoughts
 students and teachers to interact and share information                  and reflections on specific course topics.
 with each other. Groups may be created for students with              •   It allows students to develop their problem
 similar interests to share information and useful material.              solving skills, through collaboration with a wide
 Or, they may be created for students to work on collabo-                 range of contacts having different backgrounds
 ration projects. Usually course groups are “closed”, i.e.,               and capabilities [6].
 the group contents are available only to members of the
                                                                       •   Students choose the most suitable time to login
 group, which helps protect the privacy of students.
 Announcement             Status Update: Publishing various               and engage in discussions. The student has a
 types of departmental or course announcements to stu-                    chance to reflect on topics and comments and
 dents, or certain tips and advices by the teacher.                       decide the appropriate time to reply.
 Group Discussion          Discussion Boards/Online Chat:              •   Course contents are made available “on-
 Discussion boards can be used to discuss certain course                  demand”, so that students can view them any-
 related topics between students with or without the                      time through any medium, whether on a laptop,
 teacher involvement. The online chatting feature can also                desktop, mobile phone, IPad, etc [8].
 be used to discuss topics privately between two or more               •   Students become more stimulated and interest-
                                                                          ed in course material and build knowledge by
 Emails       Messages: Facebook messages allow private
 communication between the instructor and an individual                   linking theory to practice.
 or a group of students. Instant messaging, with the notifi-           •   It may help students develop a positive percep-
 cation feature, may help in sending messages and receiv-                 tion towards learning, and improve their overall
 ing responses faster than traditional emails.                            learning experience [15], [16].
 Feedback/Evaluation             Comment/Like/Ask Ques-                •   It can encourage self confidence and raise self
 tions: To assess the quality of certain course content, the              esteem, when students receive positive feedback
 instructor may take the feedback of students through                     or a praising comment from their teacher or col-
 their comments, or by counting the number of those who
                                                                          leagues [17], [18].
 “liked” this content. The “Ask Questions” application can
                                                                       •   To help students engage into a competitive en-
 also be used to vote about a certain subject.
 Information Sharing           Share: Both the instructor and             vironment that may help develop their creativity
 students can share useful material, such as videos, news,                and self motivation.
 or articles, using the “Share on Facebook” feature availa-            •   To help establish a positive relationship among
 ble in most websites.                                                    students, and facilitate finding colleagues of sim-
                                                                          ilar interests and backgrounds [19], [20].
  5 STUDENT PERSPECTIVE: BENEFIT FROM USING                            •   To help students explore new learning path and
     FACEBOOK                                                             practice self training by guiding them and pro-
 Hamann and Wilson [14] found that students who parti-                    viding them with the necessary tools and re-
 cipated in a web-enhanced class education outperformed
                                                                          sources to reach their goal [11].
 those being taught in a traditional lecturing environment.
 From the perspective of students, using Facebook for                  •   To help students engage in critical thinking and
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            increase their self dependence, sense of respon-              er, or through their active participation in the so-
            sibility and autonomy [21].                                   cial network.
        •    Online discussions and debates help students             •   To develop the necessary technological skills that
            develop their debating, persuasion and summa-                 will help in effectively performing different edu-
            rizing skills [22].                                           cational activities [11].
   Facebook learning may also be of great help to students            •   To interactively update and improve the taught
   with special needs or learning difficulties, since it allows           material depending on the feedback and evalua-
   various communication media that may fit the different                 tion of students and other participants, e.g. in-
   needs of those students.                                               vited experienced guests in the social network
   6 TEACHER PERSPECTIVE: BENEFIT FROM USING                          •   To help identify areas of concern and take ap-
      FACEBOOK                                                            propriate measures to deal with them through-
   From the perspective of the teachers, using Facebook, and              out the lifetime of the course, or at other itera-
   similar social networks, can help enhance the interaction              tions.
   between them and their students and improve the teach-             •   To reach students very rapidly if needed by post-
   ing experience in many ways. Some benefits of using                    ing announcements and other important infor-
   Facebook from the point of view of the teacher are the                 mation.
   following:                                                         •   To develop a wealth of resources, which are easi-
                                                                          ly accessible and can be re-used later or in other
       •   To view the student as a partner in the teach-                 areas.
           ing/learning process [23].                                 •   To reduce some educational costs that involve
       •    The student has an active dynamic role that                   physical classroom expenses [25].
           helps in the promotion of the whole learning ex-           •   To connect easily with colleagues and parents
           perience, thus a student-centered approach is en-              and share useful information that can help im-
           couraged.                                                      prove the teaching process [8].
       •   To enhance social interactions among students
           and improve the quality of engagement between          7 FACEBOOK AND THE LIBRARY
           them and their teacher, which can help create a        Nowadays, many librarians have joined Facebook to
           more effective learning environment. The               promote library services of a certain institution. The li-
                                                                  brary’s Facebook page can be usually accessed directly
           amount of interaction can also be easily meas-
                                                                  from the library’s homepage. Its main purpose is to mar-
           ured to evaluate the effectiveness of the expe-
                                                                  ket the library, post announcements to library users, share
           rience [13].                                           photos, and provide online help. Although the interaction
       •   To feel closer to his/her students by breaking the     is mainly one-sided, i.e., through announcements posted
           traditional formal barriers of classroom stu-          from the library’s side, there is still a good potential of
           dent/teacher relationship.                             interaction by initiating discussions and taking feedback
       •   Learning more about the students, simply by            from students [26]. Some Facebook features that a libra-
           viewing their profiles or reading their comments       rian can use to accomplish these takes are the following:
           on Facebook [7].
                                                                  Profile/Page: The librarian creates his/her own profile
       •   To provide helpful educational input in a variety
                                                                  and adds students as “friends”, or creates a page that
           of ways and at different times other than the li-      students can “like”. Communication between the libra-
           mited lecture time.                                    rian and the users then occurs through posting on the
       •   To analyze and compare the achievement of stu-         wall of the page. The contents of wall posts include activi-
           dents and the knowledge they acquire in differ-        ties such as publicizing the library’s news and events,
           ent ways [13].                                         links to web resources and videos, and announcing new
       •   To practice different pedagogical approaches de-       books, journals and electronic resources.
           pending on the needs of the students [11].             Info: Library information page provides details of library
                                                                  services, rules, locations, important links and contact in-
       •   To practice different social and psychological in-
                                                                  formation of library personnel.
           teraction skills that may help establish a closer
                                                                  Events: To announce library events, such as workshops,
           relationship between the teacher and his/her stu-      training courses, book fairs and conferences conducted in
           dents [24].                                            the department or the institution.
       •   To discover distinguished students who have po-        Status Update: similar to wall posts, status updates give
           tential that will probably only appear through di-     students recent information they need to know to use the
           rect continuous communication with their teach-        library. For example, the library’s opening hours in holi-
                                                                  day times, library’s services interruption, new books and
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 journals additions, new computer equipment, etc.                    •   Utilize third party library-related applications
 Online Discussion/Online chat: To discuss available or                  that allows searching and accessing library con-
 newly added books or to consult the librarian in case help              tent from within Facebook, such as: JSTOR,
 is needed to access some library services.
                                                                         WorldCat, and LibGuides [27].
 Emails/Messages: To be used for private communication
                                                                 The following section describe some experiments con-
 between the librarian and students. For example, the li-
 brarian can contact a student in case a book he/she has         ducted by academic institutions in which Facebook was
 reserved becomes available, to follow up interlibrary loan      used or investigated for the purpose of supporting class-
 requests, or to remind students of overdue books.               room teaching.
 Feedback/Comments: To provide comments and sugges-
 tions for service improvement in the library. For example,      9 CASE STUDIES
 books are available in the catalog but could not be found
 on the shelves, need more best seller books, withdraw old       9.1 Case Study 1:
 books, etc.                                                     Fouser [12] reports on a case study of the use of the Face-
                                                                 book in a Korean language education class at Seoul Na-
 8 LIBRARY PERSPECTIVE: BENEFIT FROM USING                       tional University (SNU). The study was conducted in an
    FACEBOOK                                                     elective course for undergraduate students. The goal was
 As mentioned in Ayu and Abrizah [27], the Association of        to provide students with a introduction to social linguistic
 college and Research Libraries (ACRL) Research Planning         concepts and research methods. The case study was based
 and Review Committee reported that social networking            on discussions and student generated data that are shared
 sites such as Facebook are one of the most important            through Facebook and counts as 10% of the course grade.
 technological changes that are affecting academic libraries     The class consists of 11 students, three of whom were in-
 at present and in the near future. Using social networking      ternational students studying Korean as foreign language.
 sites, such as Facebook, the library can promote a percep-      All the students were familiar with the leading SNS site
 tion among students that expands beyond books. Thus, it         (Cyworld) in Korea. To use Facebook for teaching, the
 can help students discover that the library is more useful      instructor established a new Facebook account for the
 and approachable than they have previously thought [26].        course and formed a private group, allowing only stu-
 Some benefits of using Facebook from the library’s pers-        dents in the class to join the group.
 pective can be summarized as follows:                             During the course, students were given Korean–
                                                                 language questionnaire mainly based on: (1) the conveni-
      •   To create an interactive environment to connect        ence of using Facebook; (2) comparing Facebook with
          and communicate better with students [26],[27].        other SNS such as Cyworld; and (3) comparing Facebook
                                                                 with eTL (Backboard) at SNU. The results showed that
      •   To allow users to share information and useful
                                                                 the students had a positive attitude towards the use of
          resources.                                             Facebook, mainly because of the group interface that
      •   To announce and create awareness of the services       provides easy access to the group’s wall, online discussion
          and resources available to users through their li-     and sharing of photos taken during field studies. Most
          brary.                                                 students preferred Facebook over Cyworld which seems
      •   To promote training activities and courses of-         to provide a one-way communication. They also found
          fered by the library [28].                             Facebook more attractive to use than Blackboard as it is
      •   To provide instant help for users who are access-      easier to navigate and learn. On the other hand, the in-
                                                                 structor found the inability to upload PDF files and
          ing online library resources.
                                                                 MSWord documents inconvenient at times. The study
      •   Making awareness of cultural activities con-
                                                                 concluded that using Facebook and other SNSs can be
          ducted outside the university, such as local book      more effective in classes with a small number of students.
          fairs, seminars, and symposiums.                       It also suggested that more research about the use of so-
      •   To establish a long term connection with students      cial networks to enhance classroom teaching is needed to
          that may extend beyond the duration of their           gain an insight into the usefulness of such medium in
          study period [26].                                     education in the long run.
      •   To connect the students with the academic insti-
                                                                 9.2 Case Study 2:
          tution they belong to by posting general informa-
                                                                 Roblyer et al. [13] report on the current adoption and use
          tion about the history, accomplishments, publica-      of social networking sites such as Facebook by students
          tions, faculty members and other information           and faculty. They examined the willingness of students
          that is unique to the institution and not necessari-   and teachers to adopt these tools for instructional pur-
          ly related to the library [26].                        poses to support classroom teaching. The methodology
      •   Improve its services and facilities by taking feed-    used in this experiment was an online survey at a mid-
          back and encouraging students to evaluate and          sized southern public university in the USA. 120 students
          suggest possible improvements.                         and 41 faculty members completed the survey. The survey
                                                                 focused on whether each group had a Facebook account,
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   and the main purpose for using the account, and whether       Most students also expressed a positive feedback when
   they were willing to use it as a classroom support tool.      asked about how they found the experience of using Fa-
   The results show that faculty and students differ consi-      cebook as a collaboration tool. A survey was also distri-
   derably in the current and expected uses of SNSs. Stu-        buted to students at the end of the experiment, which
   dents communicate as much with Facebook as they do            showed that 78% of students think it is useful to use Fa-
   with technologies traditionally used in colleges (e.g.        cebook to complement classroom learning, although only
   email). Students were also found to be more open to the       55% think that Facebook actually improved their learning.
   idea of using Facebook instructionally than faculty mem-      Overall, the results suggest that there is a great potential
   bers. Instructors who have Facebook accounts do not use       for the informal learning environment where users utilize
   them daily for communication as much as they use their        Facebook and other popular social networking sites as a
   email. A Significant number of faculty think that “Face-      centralized space for communication and collaboration,
   book is not for education”. In fact, education was re-        and to complement and enhance in-class learning.
   ported as the least-common use of Facebook in this study.
   The study also suggests that students seem to have more       9.4 Case Study 4:
   potential than faculty who teach and mentor them in ac-       Ayu and Abrizah [27] in their study examine current
   cepting Facebook as a future tool to enhance learning.        usage of libraries’ Facebook pages among Malaysian
   Hence, the study recommends that there should be a            academic libraries. The methodology used was a Web
   change in the faculty perception of Facebook and other        content analysis of libraries’ websites and libraries’ Face-
   technology that could have a great potential for improv-      book pages. The study was trying to explore the extent of
   ing higher education.                                         use of Facebook by academic libraries, and the kind of
                                                                 information delivered through the Facebook page to the
   9.3 Case Study 3:                                             participants. Twenty five academic libraries in Malaysia
   Racthman and Firpo [9] explore the use of social network-     were included in this study. The study mainly investi-
   ing Web 2.0 technology to enhance education. The study        gated the characteristics and usage of the wall of the li-
   was conducted to update the material taught in an In-         brary’s Facebook page, and the kind of communication
   troduction to MIS (Management Information System)             that was conducted between the librarian and the users
   course at the Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy at          through status updates, likes, comments, posted videos
   Thammasat University in Thailand. The study was trying        and photos. After this, posts posted by the library were
   to investigate how students can use Facebook within the       categorized into six types and those posted by the users
   context of a course to collaborate between each other and     were categorized into four types. The categories from the
   their teachers, and how this experience can promote an        library’s side included: greetings, information on library
   engaging and more effective learning environment.             news, information on library resources, information on
     The participants in the experiment were divided into        web resources, and requests for feedback. From the users’
   four groups: (1) Learning Facilitators (LF), which consists   side, the categories were: greetings, enquiry about library
   of two instructors who guide and mentor students to           services, suggestions or comments, and others.
   learn from both in-class exercises and online discussions;      The results of the study indicate that there are 14 libra-
   (2) Active Participants (AP), which consists of 69 students   ries that use Facebook in Malaysia. Most of them provide
   who used Facebook to communicate with each other out-         basic information about the library in the Facebook page.
   side the class. The AP group updates the Facebook group       However, only a small number of libraries fully utilize the
   by posting IT related news, responding to each others’        wall by posting news, announcement, events, web re-
   comments and posting photos and videos; (3) Learning          sources, etc. Also, a small percentage of libraries were
   Assistant (LA), a teaching assistant whose role is to moni-   shown to be actively communicating with the users and
   tor the communication between all members, and to an-         responding promptly to their enquiries. Regarding the
   swer students’ inquiries, as well as sending assignment       contents of wall posts, greetings was found to be the most
   remainders to students; and finally (4) Friends of the        popular type of post, followed by library news, then by
   Community (FOC), which includes a group of prior stu-         library resources. The study recommends that academic
   dents, who requested to join the Facebook subgroup.           libraries should exploit Facebook and other SNSs to en-
   They don’t have a defined task but often comment on var-      courage students to become more involved with their
   ious wall posts to give advice to students from their pre-    library and more aware of its services. SNS’ should be
   vious experience.                                             made an essential element of the library’s interaction with
     The result analysis was based on analyzing Facebook         the users. However, librarians should realize the need to
   activities such as: a) wall posts, which include mainly       maintain the consistency and the timeliness of the service,
   class announcements and homework enquiry by instruc-          since users usually expect a prompt response to their en-
   tors; b) discussion posts which includes weekly assign-       quiries, in order to be able to fully utilize the services and
   ments, where the instructor and the student converse          guides offered to them through their library.
   about IT Related issues; and c) photos which include
   class attendance taken by the instructor, group work and      9.5 Case Study 5:
   whiteboard photos.                                            Phillips [26] presents a content analysis of status messag-
     The analysis of the results showed a strong evidence of     es posted by academic libraries on seventeen Facebook
   high communication activities among the participants.         pages. The sample was drawn from different institutions
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 of higher education in Illinois. The data was collected          threats, educators must follow certain guidelines for the
 from October 17- November 5, 2010. Data collection in-           protection of their own privacy, as well as the privacy of
 cluded recording the number of fans of each Facebook             their students, and to avoid the risks of cyber crimes.
 page, downloading all messages appearing on each Face-             This paper discussed the benefits of using Facebook to
 book page, cleaning up the data by removing pictures             support classroom teaching. To start with, the instructor
 and graphics, combining comments together with their             can create a special profile for the course, to avoid the
 original message, and coding each message in each Face-          invasion of the privacy of his/her own profile. Using this
 book page with an identification number. To analyze the          course profile, the instructor can create a group or a page
 collected data, each message together with its related           that the students can join or “like”. Other interested par-
 comments was considered as one unit of analysis. Each            ties like faculty members and previous students may also
 unit was assigned to one or more category and given a            be invited to help enrich the “community” of the course.
 code accordingly. A total of 439 status messages were            Announcements to certain events and links to important
 coded of all 17 Facebook pages. The results of the content       resources can be posted on the wall of the page. Online
 analysis were interpreted with respect to three domains:         discussions can be initiated in the discussion board. Spe-
      • Library Domain: It was found that a significant           cial interest subgroups can be created to enable teamwork
          number of messages were related to the library          in some specific tasks such as projects. Feedback and
          itself, such as the library’s services, resources,      evaluation can be given using the “like” and “comment”
                                                                  features. Private communication amongst students or
          collections, events, news, etc.
                                                                  between students and the teacher can also take place
      • Student Domain: In this category, the primary
                                                                  though instant messaging.
          focus of the message is the student. Some mes-            The opportunity of innovation in how teacher and stu-
          sages, for example, welcomed new students,              dents interact seems to be endless in the Facebook envi-
          congratulated graduates, offered seasonal greet-        ronment, giving a valuable venue for students to become
          ings, etc. Another way of showing support to            more motivated and play an active role in the learning
          students was by posting pictures of students who        process. Students can benefit from the experience of each
          attended and contributed to certain events.             other and increase their knowledge in the subject matter
      • Community Domain: Some messages indicate                  through fruitful discussions, sharing of resources and
                                                                  collaboration in problem solving. On the other hand,
          how the library connected students with their in-
                                                                  teachers get to know more about their students and re-
          stitution, by posting announcements about the
                                                                  ceive valuable feedback that can help them improve
          history, news, values, etc, that is relevant to the     course contents and how different material can be deli-
          institution and not necessarily relevant to the li-     vered to students in the best possible means.
          brary. Other messages promote events that hap-            The use of Facebook in libraries is yet another important
          pen in the local community and encourage stu-           track in the academic field. The library can establish a
          dents to attend them, making possible a stronger        long term connection with students, and help increase
          bond between students and the community                 their awareness of library services and resources, univer-
          where they live.                                        sity news, and cultural events in their community.
                                                                    It is our conjecture that social networking sites will have
                                                                  a greater role in the academic arena in the near future.
 The results of the study indicate that the popularity and
                                                                  The popularity and ease of use of such networks will def-
 interactivity of Facebook can help libraries create a dy-
                                                                  initely encourage academics throughout the world to
 namic relationship with students that may change the
                                                                  make use of the lively interaction that these networks
 students’ perception of the library as being only used for
                                                                  provide. This dynamic virtual atmosphere will help
 books. This interactive relationship may encourage stu-
                                                                  bridge the gap that has long existed between teachers and
 dents to utilize library’s services and become more en-
                                                                  their students in the traditional rigid classroom environ-
 gaged in cultural activities within their university and in
 the wider community they live in.

 10 CONCLUSION                                                    REFERENCES
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