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June 10, 2008

Blogging ECAR Summer Symposium III -- Students and Social Networking

Each year, Educause's ECAR group conducts a national survey of students and IT. The 27,317 respondents to this year's survey were asked (for the first time) about their experience in the social networking world. Later this summer/fall, ECAR Fellows Judy Caruso and Gail Salaway will release their general findings. In the meantime, the data shared confirms broad expectations that students are significantly time shifting in favor of social networking. Understanding this situation and student self-reporting that they are interacting with one another for course-related efforts is an important insight.

For students, course management systems are really convenient ways of gathering access to formative grading and other related conveniences. Most are rather critical of their faculty colleagues use and knowledge of the technology. As the social networking platforms emerge as a major portion of the student experience and course management systems become management utilities, its important to begin asking whether we should move more and more of the 'learning' to their platform rather than demanding that they conform to ours. Knowing full well that students may well resist the convergence of spaces, over the next year or two, I suspect we will see leading edge faculty and organizations bringing value to student social networks that will begin to blur the boundaries.

Eighty-two percent of students self-reported that they spend time in the social networking world. A significant number of students report that they are spending 20 hours or more a week! in their social networks.

Eighty-nine percent have a presence in FaceBook (with only 48% having MySpace accounts).

Students report that they are using these platform technologies to keep in touch with friends (97%), sharing photos, videos and the like (67%), finding out more about people (51%), communicating with classmates about course-related activities (50%) and event and scheduling (48%).

Lev Gonick
Case Western Reserve University
June 10, 2008

Posted by lsg8 at June 10, 2008 06:34 PM and tagged

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