The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Friday, February 10, 2017

MOOCs Can Rely Too Much on Social Media

A recent Australian study found concerns about integrating too much social media into massive open online courses (MOOCs). Carpe Diem, a MOOC offered in 2014, used Facebook and Twitter for online communication and collaboration, but about half of the course participants didn’t use either.

According to the study,  41% refused to use social media because they felt it blurred the line between their social and professional identities. Nearly 50% were also unhappy with the learning management system (LMS) used by the course.

Respondents complained that the social media sites were intimidating to use and created confusion. Some said it took too much time to check into the LMS, Facebook, and Twitter, while others thought it would have worked better if social media worked within the LMS.

Facilitated discussions, work sharing with peers, and networking opportunities were the most-cited benefits of using social media platforms within MOOCs. However, the group that wasn’t as thrilled saw Facebook and Twitter as useless.

“It may be useful to outline in detail to students the contributions that social learning can bring to a MOOC and, indeed, to any online learning environment,” the researchers wrote. “Those who believe that conversations on social media are a waste of time may view things differently if they understand how conversations and knowledge sharing with their peers can support their learning experience.”

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