Facebok in Education: Students, Teachers, and Library Perspectives
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JOURNAL OF COMPUTING, VOLUME 4, ISSUE 6, JUNE 2012, ISSN (Online) 2151-9617 https://sites.google.com/site/journalofcomputing 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. —————————— —————————— 1 INTRODUCTION 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 . A user profile con- million users around the world . 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 . 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  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-
JOURNAL OF COMPUTING, VOLUME 4, ISSUE 6, JUNE 2012, ISSN (Online) 2151-9617 https://sites.google.com/site/journalofcomputing WWW.JOURNALOFCOMPUTING.ORG 79 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.  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 learning. 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  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  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 . 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.
JOURNAL OF COMPUTING, VOLUME 4, ISSUE 6, JUNE 2012, ISSN (Online) 2151-9617 https://sites.google.com/site/journalofcomputing WWW.JOURNALOFCOMPUTING.ORG 80 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 . 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 , , . 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 . was initially limited to college students at Harvard with a university email address . 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 . 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 . It is one of the top 10 Students’ Groups Groups most used sites in the world . Twitter rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with over 250 million users as of Announcements Status Update July, 2011. 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 Feedback/Evaluation 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
JOURNAL OF COMPUTING, VOLUME 4, ISSUE 6, JUNE 2012, ISSN (Online) 2151-9617 https://sites.google.com/site/journalofcomputing WWW.JOURNALOFCOMPUTING.ORG 81 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 . 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 . be used to discuss topics privately between two or more • Students become more stimulated and interest- members. 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 , . 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 , . “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 , . 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  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 . those being taught in a traditional lecturing environment. From the perspective of students, using Facebook for • To help students engage in critical thinking and
JOURNAL OF COMPUTING, VOLUME 4, ISSUE 6, JUNE 2012, ISSN (Online) 2151-9617 https://sites.google.com/site/journalofcomputing WWW.JOURNALOFCOMPUTING.ORG 82 increase their self dependence, sense of respon- er, or through their active participation in the so- sibility and autonomy . 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 . cational activities . 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 site. 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 . • To reduce some educational costs that involve • The student has an active dynamic role that physical classroom expenses . 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 . • 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 . 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 . 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 . 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 . 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 . 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 . 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
JOURNAL OF COMPUTING, VOLUME 4, ISSUE 6, JUNE 2012, ISSN (Online) 2151-9617 https://sites.google.com/site/journalofcomputing WWW.JOURNALOFCOMPUTING.ORG 83 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 . 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  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 , 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 . 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 ,. 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 . 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 . 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.  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 . 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,
JOURNAL OF COMPUTING, VOLUME 4, ISSUE 6, JUNE 2012, ISSN (Online) 2151-9617 https://sites.google.com/site/journalofcomputing WWW.JOURNALOFCOMPUTING.ORG 84 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  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  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  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
JOURNAL OF COMPUTING, VOLUME 4, ISSUE 6, JUNE 2012, ISSN (Online) 2151-9617 https://sites.google.com/site/journalofcomputing WWW.JOURNALOFCOMPUTING.ORG 85 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. 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