|dc.description.abstract||Social Networking Sites are becoming an integral part of modern educational activities.
Therefore, this research aims to comprehensively investigate how the usage of SNSs
affects the educational and social experience of students and educators in higher education.
The study also explores opportunities and challenges facing SNS as an educational tool,
and aims to bridge a technology-based factor, i.e., SNS, with social factors, across an
educational theoretical framework. The research intends to answer three research
questions: (1) How do faculty and students view and use SNS in higher education
institutions? (2) How does using SNS in higher education institutions affect the
educational and social experience? (3) What are the opportunities and challenges facing
SNS, as a learning tool, in higher education institutions?
The study is based on the theoretical foundations of the Community of Inquiry (CoI)
framework that was developed by Garrison et al. (2000) as an instructional design model
for e-learning. Its purpose is to provide a framework for the use of computer-mediated
communication in supporting educational experience. The CoI is defined as the
intersection of social, cognitive, and teaching presences, and was adopted in this research
to conceptualise educational experience.
A case study strategy is employed, and mixed data collection and analysis methods were
conducted over four consecutive stages. First, a web application was developed to extract
the interaction that is taking place on the CMT Facebook group. The application is
designed to help in classifying and analysing the extracted data using content analysis
techniques. Second, findings of the content analysis helped in devising structured
questionnaires that were used to survey 525 students. This data was analysed through
descriptive statistics, correlation and regression models. Third, semi-structured interviews
were conducted with 21 faculty members at CMT. Finally, five focus groups with 30 CMT
students were conducted.
The data obtained from online interaction and questionnaires was triangulated with the data
gathered from interviews and focus groups. Results show that Facebook is extensively
used as a non-formal learning tool for various college-related activities. Findings indicate
that Facebook substantially satisfies social and teaching dimensions of the educational
experience, but despite this, its use as a platform that supports intellectual discussions
proved to be insufficient. The study shows interesting results, such as the appearance of
implicit types of interaction, and how the nature of different courses affects its
compatibility to be taught using Facebook affordances. Moreover, some issues related to
students‘ and faculty members‘ privacy emerged as concerns for using Facebook in higher
education. The study concludes with contributions to knowledge and to practice, and
finally, recommendations were proposed to effectively use SNS in parallel with traditional
learning management systems.||en_US