Educators and researchers are experimenting with social media (e.g. forums, blogs, wikis) as a channel for learning through dialogue and content creation. In an ideal educational environment, the use of these tools would encourage students to engage in similar levels of participation and to actively provide high quality contributions. Nevertheless, there are several factors and behaviors that affect a student’s exposure to a shared learning experience. This study summarizes current research using discussion forums and collaborative authoring in three business courses. Further, it evaluates the use of social software in the context of graduate education. Students were assigned to collaboratively write class responses – as single group – to the instructor’s queries. The forums included active student discussion on class readings. Surveys were administered to examine the influence of these applications on perceived learning and course satisfaction. As a result of preliminary observations, the data suggest that online tools can be valuable conduits for constructivist learning. Additional analyses reveal unequal discourse and involvement. This imbalance affects quality of learning and motivation. Evaluation results of forum usage and content creation are summarized and student questionnaires are analyzed. Student attitude and role of the instructor are discussed. A discussion is provided on issues that affect participation and collaboration. Several strategies are proposed to balance student participation and achieve comparable learning experiences.
|Keywords:||Social Media, Education, Learning, Computer Uses in Education|
Professor, ESPAE – Graduate School of Management, ESPAE-‐ESPOL, Guayaquil, Ecuador
Professor, ESPAE – Graduate School of Management, Facultad de Ingeniería en Electricidad y Computación, Centro de Desarrollo de Emprendedores, ESPAE-‐ESPOL, Guayaquil, Ecuador
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