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The Academic Turn: Social Media In Higher Education

Thirusellvan Vandeyar
Published 2020 · Computer Science
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Universities must transform to fulfil expectations of the knowledge society. At the same time academics are required to respond to the dynamic environment that information and communications technologies (ICT) bring to effective and efficient teaching methods. Utilizing a qualitative case study approach, this study set out to explore experiences of academics’ as they made a pedagogic turn towards using social media technology for teaching in a resource-constrained context. The Technology Acceptance Model served as the theoretical mooring of this study. Data capture included a mix of semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, document analysis and field notes. Findings are presented as three academic turns. First, a turn away from the institutions’ LMS due to contextual exigencies. Second, a pedagogical turn towards Web 2.0 technologies using social media tools to enhance their pedagogy. Third, a beliefs and attitude turn about the affordances of social media; augmenting academics’ resilience to persevere with this technology of choice. This study recommends that the use of social media networking in higher education creates a viable form of technology enhanced teaching, particularly in resource-constrained contexts. Further studies should explore academics emerging pedagogical practices in their use of social media, and students’ perceptions and engagement in social media learning communities.
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