Facebook in Academic Institutions

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Facebook practices in academic institutions|
A briefing paper on the ways universities use Facebook and other social platforms for interaction with students| |

Department of Information ScienceLoughborough University24 May 2012|

Table of contents

1. Summary ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3 2. Terms of reference --------------------------------------------------------------------- 3 3. Procedure ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3 4. Findings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4 4.1 Online discussion forum ---------------------------------------------------------- 4 4.2 Administrative and departmental arrangements -------------------------- 5 4.3 Information about modules------------------------------------------------------ 5 5. Conclusion and recommendations ------------------------------------------------- 6 6. Word count ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6 7. References --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6 * Appendix 1 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7 * Appendix 2 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 8

1. Summary.
Whilst the majority of students have Facebook profiles, potential to support academic institutions was seen in its features. This paper provides a generalization of several case studies about the utilisation of Facebook in several universities. It offers an overview of the advantages, constraints and limitations of the suggested practices. The report shows that although Facebook implementation faced partial success, most of the respondents strongly believed that it should remain a forum only for social networking, not a platform for formal academic information.

2. Terms of reference.
Social networking sites, especially Facebook, have gained wide popularity in the last few years. They provide a variety of options such as group setting, live chat and online discussion forum. This structure made it possible to expand and go beyond the boundaries of being tools utilised only for marketing and social interaction. Bearing in mind that their main users are individuals at the age of 18-24, they offer a good potential for academic and educational purposes. Owing to the growing interest to the topic, I have been commissioned by the Senior Management Group of the University to investigate whether academic institutions use them in order to interact with students. The purpose of this report is to find out evidence and outcomes of such implementation in the academic community. Although the collected results appear to be somehow contradictory, the dilemma whether Facebook can be both a social and academic forum seems to have a straightforward answer.

3. Procedure.
To analyse the university strategies regarding social platforms, a review of library evidence and instances was conducted. In order to retrieve materials of high quality and authority, the search was conducted in Google Scholar and Library Catalogue Plus. Since much more research is done on the social aspects and privacy issues regarding Facebook, advanced searching was used in order to ignore the irrelevant information. Due to the recent nature of the topic, the scope of the articles and journals was limited to publications from the past five years, 2007-2012. The findings are overviews of case studies based on the practices in USA, Italy and South Africa with prevailing number of undergraduates as main respondents. Because of the variety of social networking sites, the study is primarily focused on Facebook since it has its roots in the academic environment and in this way it is distinctive from the rest of its kind (Bosh 2009, p.191). 4. Findings....
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