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Making sense of Web 2.0 technology : do European students use the social meida applications for educational goals?

Eze, E.O. (2009) Making sense of Web 2.0 technology : do European students use the social meida applications for educational goals?

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Abstract:The role of web 2.0 applications and more specific social media in e-learning is growing. The use of Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare and Delicious is becoming accepted as shared information sources in current education. Facebook, Naymz, Twitter and blogs give access to detailed personal information and thematic insights of relevant researchers and professionals and offer opportunities for immediate online conversations. However, there is still limited research into this use, the effects on education and the factors and characteristics that steer the use and effects of these applied social media. In this research, we described the results of an international cross-cultural survey into the key determinant factors that are responsible for the intention to use social media in European higher education. We conducted an online survey of 285 undergraduate and graduate students in selected higher institutions in the Netherlands, Great Britain and Ireland. The survey was based on the Unified Theory of User Acceptance of Technology (UTAUT) combined with the cultural dimensions as described by Hofstede. We found that two key variables of the UTAUT were good predictors’ of intention to use social media in higher education. These variables are performance expectancy, social influence. We also discovered that two additional constructs, control belief, and community identity influences the intention to use social media. Given the social characteristic of these media, we found that these relationships are significantly mediated by Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, namely individualism, Power distance, masculinity, and technological experience. We concluded that culture is a vital factor to be taken into consideration as it relates to intention, and usage of social media in European higher education. From a theoretical perspective we get deep understanding of key determinant factors that contribute to the use of social media in higher education; this study fills the void created by lack of research interest in this new domain, and opens a door of opportunities for other researchers to explore, especially those having interest in European cross-cultural studies. In addition, institutions of higher learning and other organizations will find the recommendations offered at the end of this paper useful, as it made a number of suggestions on how to utilize the opportunities offered by web 2.0 technologies for e-learning benefits.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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