Presentation Title: Are You on Facebook? Social Media, Undergraduate Teaching, and Multiculturalism

Abstract: Over the past decade, a conglomerate of social software has expanded the academic landscape; promoted greater communication between the professor and amongst classmates; and shifted teaching practices across the nation (Andrade, Castro, & Ferreira, 2012; Galagan, 2009; Park, 2013). Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, text messaging, and blogs are increasingly being used by faculty in an attempt to enhance the teaching and learning process, with the goals of engaging students and challenging them to think critically beyond the classroom (Haytko & Parker, 2012; Popoiu, Grosseck, & Holotescu, 2012). Educational research has examined the use of these technologies in academic disciplines such as Psychology, History, Statistics, Business, Marketing, and Medicine, comparing online strategies to traditional classroom based strategies (Paul, Baker, & Cochran, 2012; Billiot, 2011; Miners, 2009; Rinaldo, Tapp, & Laverie, 2011; Everson, Gundlach, & Miller, 2013; Lowe & Laffey, 2011; Popoiu, Grosseck, & Holotescu, 2012). While the methods used to integrate social media into the teaching and learning process somewhat vary, most attempt to encourage deeper learning on the course topics. Moreover, studies suggest that social media allows students the opportunity to constantly learn outside of the classroom, as class topics are discussed in personal forums (Wang, Lin, Yu, & Wu, 2013; Blessing, Blessing, & Fleck, 2012; Chen, Lambert, & Guidry, 2010; Hung & Yuen, 2010). However, Twitter-based studies have yielded varying results, from students not being interested in blending their personal use of the internet with classroom studies due to “personal space” concerns (Haytko & Parker, 2012), to students being enthusiastic about the integration and remembering topics better when exposed to them on social media (Forsyth & Archer, 1997). Despite students’ displeasure in using a personal site for academic purposes, many students find the use of Twitter and other social media sites as a positive reinforcement of classroom ideas, allowing them to establish a greater sense of community with their classmates and professors and feeling more comfortable with communicating their ideas (Junco, Heiberger, & Loken, 2011; Galagan, 2009; Young, 2010; Miners, 2012). While integrating social media in undergraduate classes seems to be highly beneficial, discussion on the multicultural implications is either underdeveloped or fragmented. This paper will showcase key research conducted in the area of social media at the undergraduate level, giving special attention to the multicultural nuances, including the intersection of the digital divide, cultural values, and diverse worldviews.


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