Experiences of social media in higher education: barriers, enablers and next steps.

PURVIS, Alison, RODGER, Helen and BECKINGHAM, Sue (2016). Experiences of social media in higher education: barriers, enablers and next steps. In: Social Media for Learning in Higher Education 2015 Conference proceedings (#SocMedHE15). Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/SocMedHE/2015/10


There are many examples of social media being used in higher education to enhance learning and teaching. While some academics are confident in exploring multiple strands of social media and blend them instinctively for a multi-dimensional learning experience; others are more tentative, preferring to understand the nature of the tool or process thoroughly, often by learning from others before embarking on a social media based activity (Beckingham, Purvis and Rodger 2014). However there are a broad range of factors, experiences and perceptions that may influence an individual and their resulting use of, and expectations of, social media as a learning construct. The aim of the study was to examine current institutional practice in the use of social media in this context, to inform strategic direction and consider implications for future academic development in order to achieve a positive impact on the learning experience for students. Fifty individuals responded to an online survey. While the majority of these (n=35) were already using social media in some way in their teaching practice, and mostly had positive attitudes towards it, the remainder had not. Some were open to the idea, though naturally cautious, while others were clear that it had no place in their teaching practice. This rich picture revealed a variety of barriers and enablers: where confidence was high and support available; uptake of social media as a tool for learning was more prevalent and more successful. There was a strong connection between support (formal and informal) and individual confidence, and a subsequent willingness to try new things to enhance learning. Recent research advocates the development of digital capabilities including the confident use of social media for communication and collaboration (Beetham 2015); and that where embedded, its use provides essential skills for future graduates. It is therefore timely to review the skill sets and development needs of staff in order to support the learning of students.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Communication and Computing Research Centre
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Faculty of Science, Technology and Arts > Department of Computing
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/SocMedHE/2015/10
Depositing User: Sue Beckingham
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2016 13:43
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 16:01
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14134

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