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Higher education meets private use of social media technologies - an explorative study of students' use

Tid: Ti 2018-01-09 kl 13.00

Plats: F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH Campus

Ämnesområde: Media Technology and Graphical Art

Respondent: Pernilla Josefsson , Media Technology and Interaction Design

Opponent: Prof Grainne Conole

Handledare: Stefan Hrastinski


The work in this thesis sets out to explore how students perceive social media use in the context of higher education. More precisely, the focus is on students' use of, experience with, and attitudes toward the integration of social media into their learning environment. To complement this, teachers' incentives for including social media have been studied; to some extent their communication, attitudes, and online activity were also analyzed.

The four different studies included in this thesis incorporated three major types of social media technologies: a social networking service (Facebook), a collaborative editable webpage (Wikipedia), and a microblog (Twitter). The studies adopted different approaches to data collection and analysis, including both qualitative and quantitative methods. The specific methods for each study were chosen to accommodate the research questions, for reasons of access to information, and due to ethical considerations.

While each study differs in starting point and scope and provide particular contributions to the research area, the main contributions of the work as a whole are connected to findings on attitude changes, the professional role in students' use of social media, their teacher-like actions, confusion regarding moving between the identified roles, and the implementation of social media in higher education.

The findings presented here are appropriate for guiding a nuanced discussion regarding the implementation of social media technologies in higher education, an implementation that was found to be contingent on appropriate use and a suitable social context. The findings suggest that the inclusion of social media in non-private contexts generally needs to have a clear aim and strategy for achieving it. The roles defined in this work - in terms of both being a student and the private and professional roles - could also serve as the basis for further exploration in other areas with comparable hierarchies in which it is necessary to understand how the individual relates to self-presentation, technological constraints, and roles, such as the relation between an employer and employee.

The theis in Diva