PERCEPTION OF STUDENTS TOWARD USING SOCIAL MEDIA FOR COLLABORATIVE LEARNING IN ENHANCING THEIR ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1              Background to the Study    

Education is at the centre of a nation’s development; through education people are empowered both academically and in skill acquisition. Research has also revealed that a nation that has a strong stable and functional educational system invariably has not only the powerful instrument to fight and eliminate poverty but also has a solid foundation to build a sustainable economy upon. The benefit of a good educational system to any nation is further emphasized when the United States Embassy in Nigeria stated that education is the most “important way to approach community (national) development. A sound educational system is considered to be a prerequisite to achieving progress, from the individual to the society to the economy.” Manu Goel (2008) corroborates this thought when he observed that: “the quality of human resource of a nation is easily judged by the number of literate population living in it.” This implies that education is fundamental for a nation aspiring to achieve both human growth and sustainable development. Perhaps the most captivating view of the role of education in the reformation process is captured by Licuanan (2003).

The introduction of social media to education has made it possible for students to learn adequately with ease and convenience. Social media are fast becoming very popular means of both interpersonal and public communication in Nigeria and the world at large. Social media are modern ways for interactive communication channels through which people connect to one another and share ideas. What distinguishes the social media from the conventional means of communication is their interactive nature which allows the audience to participate in it from any part of the world they reside. McQuail (2010) differentiates the social media from the traditional mass media when he noted that “traditional mass communication was essentially one-directional, while the new forms of communication are essentially interactive.” This interactive aura of the new media confers an unprecedented popularity on them. The social media by their nature have the capabilities of educating, informing, entertaining and „inflaming‟ the audience. This capacity is possibly what Osahenye (2012) refers to as “unstoppable power of the social media.” As a novel phenomenon, it is necessary to examine how Nigerian students use the new means of communication. This is because students‟ contribution as youths can make or mar any nation. Okolloh cited by Essoungou (2010), explains that, “the new communication technology is one of the few ways that young Africans can bypass the inefficiencies in the system that allow the status quo to hold on. It lowers the barriers to entry for everyone to get involved and be heard.” A study like this shall help to ascertain whether students‟ use of the social media could be regulated or not. This is obviously because the disposition of people of a given community could shape the media in existence there, just like a cerebral media scholar Anim (2007) aptly notes that “societies greatly influence the operations and functions of the media that operate within those societies.” The manner in which the social media were used and the role they played in the recent uprising which rocked the Middle-East popularly referred to as Arab Spring could be deciphered as credence to the above academic’s observation. Now just like radio or television stations, social media sites spread everywhere in Nigeria and are bound to be sprouting as technologies continue to improve; however, the problem lies in the point that the purposes which the users apply the new media for are still obscure. This is what Folorunso, Vincent, Adekoya and Adewale (2010), observed when they argue generally that, in Africa, social media networking site is becoming widely spread than it has ever been before and it tends to be majorly accepted by the youths. Yet the widespread adoption by users of these sites is not clear, as it appears that people’s perception of this technology is diverse.”

The development of social media network and web 2.0 technologies has been monumental (Lenhart et al., 2010), where social media technology has managed to disseminate into the every aspect of the users’ personal life in terms of contributing content, sharing photos, liking comments or contents or game interaction. Such dissemination is specifically evident in institutions of higher learning where technology has changed students’ communication, collaboration and learning. In this regard, social media can be described as the several technological systems that are linked to both collaboration and community (Joosten, 2012). Despite the fact that researchers have not reached a consensus on an accurate definition of the term (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010), social media is often viewed through examples like social networking sites, blogs, Wikis, multimedia platforms and virtual social worlds (Barnes & Lescault, 2011). This study focuses on the networking sites reflecting the permeating existence of social media like Facebook, Myspace and LinkedIn. In fact social networking sites are utilized similar to social networking or online social networks and are based on the web allowing users to create their personal profiles, content, and share messages by connecting with other uses of the system (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). Other studies use a more up-to-date term called the web 2.0 when addressing both social network and other social media (Gruzd, 2011). This study is aimed to examining the relationship between intention to use social media for collaborative learning and engagement among undergraduate students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria.

The potential of social media to increase interactivity and collaboration to benefit learning was recognised early (Desilets & Paquet, 2005; Knobel & Lankshear, 2006; Richardson, 2006) and considerable research to date has been conducted in higher institutions of learning. However, in the schooling sector, empirical research literature is more limited, despite scholarly interest in the benefits of social media applications (Bryant, 2007; Burnett & Merchant, 2011; Lankshear & Knobel, 2011). This study on the perception of students in the use of social media for collaborative learning by among the undergraduate students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria, will fill the loopholes on the issue of social media for collaborative learning among undergraduate students in Nigeria.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The internet today is unarguably the most important and reliable source upon which information is derived. The growing dimensions of the use of social media by students and other learned individuals to source for information cannot be underestimated. Thus, students spend more time and pay more attention to social media than they do for their studies and this affects their academic performance and if they do not learn to balance the two, it will continue to have adverse effects on their academic achievement (Osharive, 2015). In addition to this, the study conducted by Maya (2015), revealed that media use brings about lower academic performance, low self perceptions and less interest in educational oriented carriers. Academic excellence plays an important role in the life of an individual; whether in the family, social, workplace, in an institution or even among peers. Much emphasis is laid on academic performance because of the role it plays in the life of an individual as far as a successful life and respect is concerned in every aspect of life. As a result of this, students must be concerned with the ways they can improve their academic performance (Kyoshaba, 2009). Studies have also revealed that social media affects students’ command use of English most especially when writing examinations. They tend to use short- handwriting to chat (wot, wat instead of what, dz, ds instead of this, d instead of the, urs, urz instead of yours) with friends and get used to it thereby replicating the same errors during examinations (Obi, Bulus, Adamu and Sala’at, 2012). Today students at all levels higher institutions level have been engaged in the use of social media sites. This research therefore seeks to investigate the perception of students in the use of social media for collaborative learning by using the undergraduate students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria, as a case study.

1.3     Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to investigate the perception of students in the use of social media for collaborative learning by using the undergraduate students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria, as a case study. However, the specific objectives are:

i)                   To study the attitudes of the undergraduate students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State toward the use of social media for collaborative learning to enhance their academic performance

ii)                To identify the available social media for the undergraduate students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State for collaborative learning to enhance their academic performance

iii)             To examine the effects of social media for collaborative learning on the academic performance of the undergraduate students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State

iv)              To investigate the challenges facing the use of social media for collaborative learning among the undergraduate students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State

v)                To proffer solutions to the challenges facing the use of social media for collaborative learning among the undergraduate students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State

1.4     Research Questions

The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:

i)                   What are the attitudes of the undergraduate students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State toward the use of social media for collaborative learning to enhance their academic performance?

ii)                What are the available social media for the undergraduate students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State for collaborative learning to enhance their academic performance?

iii)             What are effects of social media for collaborative learning on the academic performance of the undergraduate students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State?

iv)              What are the challenges facing the use of social media for collaborative learning among the undergraduate students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State?

v)                What are the possible solutions to the challenges facing the use of social media for collaborative learning among the undergraduate students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State?

1.5     Research Hypotheses

The following shall be the research hypotheses that will be tested for this study:

i)                   There is no significance relationship between social media and academic performance

ii)                There is no significance correlation between social media for collaborative learning and socioeconomic status of the students

1.6     Scope of the Study        

This study investigates the the perception of students in the use of social media for collaborative learning by using the undergraduate students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria, as a case study. Therefore, the study shall be carried out among the undergraduate students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria.

1.7     The Significance o the Study

This study has great significance. First of all, the study findings will provide an idea about the available social media for academic excellence of the students in order to provide key information for further research work in such areas. In the same way, the study will provide knowledge and guidelines that may be of help to policymakers. The research will therefore be of a great importance for planners, and other social scientists. Finally, this study provides an input to the students, teachers and researchers in the areas of e-learning. Research works are embarked upon with a view to extending the frontier of knowledge. This study will therefore be carried out with this same objective, especially in the field of online learning. It will undoubtedly contribute to the extension of the frontier of knowledge in the following ways. First, the study will show the predictive power of the selected factors, especially socio-demographic factors, prior computer skills and time management status in the determination of the academic performance. Lastly, government will as well benefit from the study because it will show how the provision of adequate learning facilities can enhance better academic performance in our tertiary institutions all over the country.

1.8     Limitation of the Study

 This study will reflect a number of limitations. Firstly, the student models of learning will be identified on the basis of a specific sample comprising those under e-learning study model and those under the traditional study model. Secondly, the theoretical nature of this study will limit its direct relevance for the educational praxis. Therefore, it is hoped that future research may additionally focus on how student cognitions about learning are influenced in the context of everyday learning environments. The results could enable educational practitioners to encourage the adoption of student learning models which invoke a deep oriented and self-regulated study strategy. This study will however not consider all the aspects e-learning influences but instead be limited to those elements of e-learning that affect academic performance in one way or the other.

1.9     Definition of Terms

The following terms were used in the course of this study:

Academic performance: the extent to which a student has achieved his/her short or long-term educational goals. Cumulative GPA and completion of educational degrees especially bachelor's degrees represent academic achievement.

Collaborative Learning: is an educational approach to teaching and learning that involves groups of students working together to solve a problem, complete a task, or create a product.

Perception: the way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted.

Social media: computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas and information and the building of virtual networks and communities. By design, social media is internet based and offers users easy electronic communication of personal information and other content, such as videos and photos.

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