The growth in technology and innovations has turned the world into a global hub. Mobile telephony has become an essential requirement for university student. Social media has become a strategic tool that university utilizes to generate opinion from students, including managing their course discussions. Student waste several hours on Facebook through chats among other issues, including listening to music and exchanging photos or captions with adult content. It beats logic that student will own expensive mobile phone and keep their safety beyond that of course book and other materials. The social media platform has developed through various phases connecting business ideas, project executives, and handling information flow between universities, colleges, and their students all over the world. It is important that the gains of social media are carried forwards while addressing the negative issues and incidences.
The Effects of Social Media on Education of First and Second Year University Students
The power and influence of social media on the global economy in managing communications are fast growing. Social media has emerged as a professional method of communication away from the previous perceptions that it equaled to a platform that enhanced social conversations and spending leisure moments for people with computer literacy. The forum offers alternative approaches, defining relationships through several discussion forums on the platform, especially student-related activities, assignments, and discussions. Similarly, the forum has succeeded in managing communication barriers that have existed for several years between people sharing different socio-economic and cultural diversities in the world. Social media has managed over time to decentralize communications both within the social, business and educational networks driving development and change among users.
This research report provides an empirical analysis of the impacts of social media in managing student’s communications and interactions with a primary focus on the first and second year’s students in Minnesota State University levels. The research discusses the various common social media networks and how they are utilized by students to manage communication and educational discussions in furtherance of their learning objectives. The research compares both secondary literature from professional analysts, including peer-reviewed publications on the impacts of the various sites and platforms on the mainstream education systems and support of research and educational developments.
Statement of the Research Problem
The rate at which university students are building dependence on the social media platform like Facebook and Twitter is reaching unprecedented levels. The emergence of multitasking phenomenon is creating negative influence and souring relationships between students, lecturers, and parents. The concentration levels of students are divided between social media chats; listening to lecture-based learning or parental instructions at home. One wonders the fast depreciating prioritization with casual approaches, taking up the entire management of time in the university. Students are on their phones almost the whole day. In fact, it has become a norm that phones are more important that lecture notes and course books. If taken through situations of having to choose through either phones or lecture notes, Zheng et al. (2015) explain that a student would rather lose a course book or have no school fees, but not an expensive phone for social media interactions.
Philip and Garcia (2015) hold the opinion that the quality study time is wasted on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram where chatting and sharing of photos and videos take place. Despite the immense love for social media platforms by students, the dangers the students expose themselves to on those platforms is equally causing havoc to the very student who loves it. The social media platform, especially Facebook has also led to several cases of abuse to students majority of which have gone unreported to either university authority or the local police units for investigations and reprimanding the suspects.
- To what extent do social media support learning and the course objective for a student in years one or two of study
- What are some of the positive and negative impacts and influence students are faced with on the preferred social media platforms and how do they affect learning models.
- Approximately how many hours does a student spend on the social media platforms and how does this impact on the quality of personal or private study time.
Significance of Study
The sociability of university students is important in preparing them to face the dynamic corporate world ahead of them. Students have been able to manipulate several social media sites and through interactions, they have managed to build high self-esteem, which translates to better performance in lectures. The increasing use of social media platforms by universities as a learning platform informs the purpose of this empirical investigation on the extent it impacts the quality of educations for the students. Majority of universities have encouraged the formations of discussion groups using the social media platform like WhatsApp messenger, Facebook, and Twitter among other sites. The fact that the universities are using social media to support learning methods suggests the need for academic researchers to investigate the level of its credibility as a learning platform.
Almost all sectors of the world economy rely on the social media platforms to carry its content and discussion relevant to their unique agendas. The toolkit of communication is shaping the world through the power and influence of the social media platforms. Behavioral communications experts have indicated the taking over of social media platform as an official communication model for several blue-chip companies, including premier institutions within the educations and Medicare sectors. Saxton et al. (2015) assert that social media platform has been used as a community engagement tool that every sector finds some unique relevance. Social media platforms have been presented in the global space, enhancing progressive approaches to communications and interactions. As a result, the interactions are breaking the ice between lecturers and students, executive and their junior staff within various setups of the economy. Social media has set up an empirical engagement platform where the non-spoken feelings and connections have been missing for several decades of the official letter based-communications systems.
The interactions between student leaders in universities and their administrators have been managed to deal with preceding issues through social media discussions and agreements. According to Al-Bahrani and Patel (2015), societal integrations brought about by social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have gone beyond the friendly conversations to managing cross-border trade and improving collaborations between students and their university or college administrations, including the course discussion and submission methods done on the platform. Conversely, the forum has also come with several other negative effects on the users, leading to several cases of abuse and high profile criminal activities running through the platforms. Incidences of cyberbullying and social engineering have been on the increase with the breach to confidentiality rating the highest on the platform (Al-Bahrani & Patel, 2015).
The increase in other aspects of economic crimes like money laundering and cybercrimes linked to the social media is a major concern to the oversubscribed platform in the world. Crane and Matten (2016) explain that colleges are suffering silently through hacking; leading to cheating in exams and hence losing the integrity of the testing systems for universities and colleges all over the world. The education sector, political movements, and health institutions have embraced the power of the social media to deliver content to their targeted population especially to young people. Accordingly, corporate discussions have been carried out through interactions on social media, presenting it as a platform for gaining customer or client feedback on the quality and nature of services they offer to the customers.
Universities world over are using the social media platform to evaluate students’ understanding of the learning process through feedbacks on the forums and chats connected to the platform, especially on Facebook and Twitter (Hamid et al., 2015). Institutions are fast moving away from their traditional methods of managing communication and interactions within their corporate networks to chat-based interaction carried on the social media platforms. Social media has managed to catalyze the social change through the homogeneous models of interactions, information simulations, and the general mobilizations abilities of the platform in managing systemic awareness while triggering public discussions (Greenhow & Askari, 2017). Even though global education institutions have been keen to amplify their information on major mainstream media platforms like radio, televisions, and other selected print media, social media platform has emerged as the most trusted information delivery channels of the modern age (Broome & Adugu, 2015).
The research methodology and design was divided into various segments to manage the presentation mechanisms. The opening section will handle several presentations of the key arguments, including the designs of the research intended for consultation during the research. Other sections will include the sampling of the populations intended for the research and the management of their consent and other ethical issues. The final section of the methodology shall manage the data collection methods and techniques of analysis in order to present the fairest views of the findings based on the research objectives.
The study consulted the deductive approach due to the positive characteristics of the research. According to Ary et al. (2018), the representation of the positive views in the deductive approach evaluates the relationship between the results of the research conducted and the finding of the study linked to the existing theories based on the finding and reasoning of analysts. Findings of the study were compared to other professional publications and peer-reviewed journals to ascertain both positive or negative correlations and concurrences if any.
The population demography was sampled randomly within a guided framework. The sampling sizes followed a systematic order based on university and school, for instance, the schools of business and economics among others. A total of 500 students were involved in the research. To ensure the quality of data received represented both the student views and the university, sample demography of the tutors and lectures were included as respondents to the study. A total of 50 lectures, tutors or educationists were included in the study to provide an educationist position on the use of social media platforms to further the education agenda for students. The study, however, involved higher student demography since the primary data is expected to be derived from their thoughts and opinions. The research study will employ the stratified sampling methods to generate statistical data on the population demography of the research. By splitting the population demography, the sampling methods was able to advise on the stratum.
The Research Questionnaire
In order to attain the desired information on the research objectives, the design of the questionnaire was divided into two sections. The preliminary sections handled information unique to the respondent’s biodata. The second section handled issues specific to the research on social media platforms, and it impacts either positive or negative to the educational development of college and university students
Several questions were put to the respondents on the questionnaire; the information was linked to the frequency of use of social media, the preferred social media and extent to which the platform supports education. The results received as follows:
Out of the respondent preference on the social media platform, Facebook was leading followed by Twitter. 60% of the participants prefer Facebook platform compared to the other.
Several respondents who were interviewed spend a reasonable amount of their time on social media. In addition, the respondents could not equate specific hours on the platform since they believed they are always on and off the platform.
Majority of respondents (31%) reported to use social media for social friend’s chats or listening to music. However, a considerable percentage of 17% spend the time on social media to conduct education research or acquire knowledge in various fields.
A higher percentage of respondents have come across non-rated content on social media platforms. A limited number of respondents (30 %) only discuss issues with their parents or guardian on social media. Notably, approximately 70% of respondents utilize social media for education and online course discussion. However, a higher percentage have accepted a friend request from a stranger they had no previous encounter while 40% of respondents have experienced a form of bullying or abuse on the social media platform.
The results of the study support the secondary data contained in the literature review. It is evident that social media has moved beyond the social conversations to permeate the learning circles. Majority of students are progressively involving social media within their discussions. University students, especially first and second years have utilized the platform provided by social media to bond as they understand the sociocultural dynamics leading to the cohesion required for their coursework. Therefore, social media has become an essential part of the learning environment at the university.
From the results of the research, it is evident that several respondents reported that bullying and sexual abuses occur on the social media platform with some cases having adverse impacts on the student education. However, social media platform remains a favorite platform for communications among university student across the world. Hashtags are emergent discussion forums that universities are using to promote communications and discussion on various topical issues. Colleges are remodeling their discussion and learning forum based on hashtags where students respond to topics and follow academic lines provided by lecturers (Saxton et al., 2015).
It is becoming increasingly important that social media platform like Facebook and Twitter, among other platforms, should form part of the discussion within the universities to caution unsuspecting student from the falling victims of bullying and sexual abuses on the social media platform. This is important since respondents reported to having experienced some forms of abuse on the platform. Even though the majority of respondents signed an ethical commitment to sincerity in the research, it not probable that the information carried in the analyzed results represents the principal honesty of the participants. The fact that several students are spending time on social media, some up to more than ten hours a day is an indicator that quality education or study time is wasted on the platform. However, several students use social media for research, which means that the platform is important for both social interactions and educational research.
Social media is a powerful tool in the communications spheres of the world. Given that universities are using the platform to manage communications and generate student discussion of the course content, it is important that some guides on usability are given to the student. Universities receive students at very prime ages that require guidance due to their experimental lifestyle at the time of admission. Majority of students get exposure to individual independence and social media interactions during the first and the second years of their study. It is important that the integration of social media in learning is improved, but aspects of its security and safe access are managed through various trainings. Even though several types of research about social media in the education sector have been conducted with various available secondary data, it is important that the future research paradigms are changed based on the focus. Future researchers should concentrate on securitization of social media platform and the models to caution student from abuse through reckless assertions and information sharing. Accordingly, future research should also endeavor to concentrate on managing the excess hours spent on the phone since this affects the socializations statuses of the society.