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ERIC Number: EJ930381
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 39
ISSN: ISSN-1547-9714
Exploring Educational and Cultural Adaptation through Social Networking Sites
Ryan, Sherry D.; Magro, Michael J.; Sharp, Jason H.
Journal of Information Technology Education, v10 pIIP 1-IIP 16 2011
Social networking sites have seen tremendous growth and are widely used around the world. Nevertheless, the use of social networking sites in educational contexts is an under explored area. This paper uses a qualitative methodology, autoethnography, to investigate how social networking sites, specifically Facebook[TM], can help first semester doctoral students adapt to a Ph.D. program and a new national culture. Each week during the semester, a Ph.D. Student Tip and a Cultural Tip was posted. Students would then post related discussions, observations, and/or questions. At the conclusion of the semester the doctoral students shared their thoughts about participating in the Facebook[TM] group through autobiographical narratives. A technique called open coding was used to analyze the narratives. Our findings suggest three emergent themes. Social networking sites can aid adaptation through: 1) facilitating knowledge exchange, 2) alleviating apprehension, and 3) enabling socialization and building community. The data showed that the Facebook[TM] discussions aided in various types of knowledge exchange, providing a conceptual map that facilitated greater adaptation. Next, the interactions appeared to help minimize trepidation related to embarking on a new program of study and adjusting to a new national culture. Third, the Facebook[TM] group was useful fostering socialization and community among the students. We make the following recommendations for professors when implementing SNS (Social Network Site) groups: 1) establish a Facebook[TM] group with a course-related identity, 2) be sensitive to security and privacy issues, 3) provide tips to "seed" various types of knowledge exchange, 4) encourage participation, and 5) assess and adjust. While our research is exploratory in nature, we believe it provides a foundation for future research in this important and rapidly expanding area of SNS usage. (Contains 2 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China; India; Lebanon; Malaysia; Romania; Saudi Arabia; Vietnam