A new study reported that Facebook may play a role in keeping students in massive open online courses (MOOCs). The research compared student use of MOOC message boards and course Facebook groups, noting that students seemed more engaged in the Facebook groups.
Students told researchers they preferred Facebook to the MOOC communication tools because it was a real community where they are already regularly connected, according to a report in eCampus News. Students also said they believe Facebook has better collaboration tools and instructor involvement on the social media network.
“In previous studies, we found that the real challenge for MOOC developers and instructors is trying to keep students engaged and enrolled in the course,” said Saijing Zheg, a co-author of the report and a research scientist at Microsoft. “In this study, we are finding that social media tools may be one way to keep students engaged in a MOOC.”
The researchers found students tend to be more willing to reveal their true identities on Facebook, while they make up names for the MOOC message boards. In addition, students said they had more ways to connect with instructors on Facebook.