ASSESSING SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE AMONG UNDERGRADUATES IN UNIVERSITY
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The use of social media by undergraduates cannot be overemphasized. Social media sites are online networking applications that is used for interactions by one, two or more people in a place or an organization.
The purpose of this study is to determine the usage of social media sites by undergraduate students in University of Ilorin and it is also to determine the extent to which social media influences the learning process of undergraduates’ students in University of Ilorin, it will also show the extent to which social media influences their communication skills and How they get relevant information from the social media.
The study employed the use of structured questionnaire containing 18 items to elicit the responses of the sampled population of 150 undergraduate students in University of Ilorin, Nigeria.
The data gathered from the questionnaire was subject to statistical analysis using frequency and mean for the data analysis.
The findings from the analysis showed that the research questions were satisfactorily answered.
The conclusions drawn from the study is that Social media has very positive influence on undergraduate learning process, Social media has very positive influence on undergraduate information acquisition, Social media has very positive influence on undergraduate communication skills.
Background to the study
For many years, educators and researchers have explored which variables influence students’ achievement.
In Nigeria, as policymakers are becoming more involved in learning outcome, this quest becomes more intensive as continuing attempts are on course on the influence of several teacher-related factors on students’ academic performance.
Ajayi (2007) notes that characteristics of teachers in term of their attitude to work, level of job satisfaction and quality teaching skills and academic qualifications acquired are germane to students’ achievement.
Patrick (2005) reiterates that the important role of teachers in students learning is unquestionable.
Teachers have a lot of influence on their classroom practices hence; they should possess as well as apply specific abilities without which their influence may not reflect in their students’ performance, particularly in the subjects taught by them.
For students to make connection between what is taught in school in real life, must be professional, having sufficient teaching skills.
Better performance in teaching exercises, is a function of acquired skills in teaching.
Hence, students are expected to acquire teaching skills before they graduate.
It is inevitable that they will experience difficulties in their future teaching endeavors. Today’s students and educators live in the world of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and YouTube.
These and many other social networking and social media applications are part of the so-called Social Web (i.e., Web 2.0), best characterized by the notions of social interaction, content sharing, and collective intelligence.
In addition, today’s students, often referred to as digital natives (Prensky, 2001), have spent most of their time on computers, game consoles, digital music players, video cameras, cell phones, as well as the Web itself. Being used to constant engagement and multitasking in their day-to-day activities, students need a high level of social and creative engagement in learning.
Traditional teaching approaches favoring passive content consumption, therefore, are no longer applicable and have to be substituted, or at least complemented, with highly interactive learning processes.
Adediwura and Bada (2007) further opine that teachers should be aware of the importance of communication in Education.
They must also realize that all students have different level of strengths and weakness.
It is only through communication that an individual can introduce creative and effective solutions to the problems of the students.
Thus, a teacher must possess so that they interact properly with the students-positive motivation; this is one of the important things that a teacher must possess.
In a class, students always have different kinds of tastes and preferences over subjects.
So it is the job of the teacher to create enthusiasm and interest in the minds of the students towards a subject.
It is also a teacher’s role to remove any fear and inhibitions that a student may have towards a subject.
Another communication skill is effective body language. This is the most powerful communication skill that a teacher must possess.
Good presentation skills include a powerful body language supported by verbal skills.
This can create a long lasting impression in the minds of the students.
Thus, a teacher will inevitably become more interactive and interesting for the students.
Besides, a teacher should maintain the volume, tone and rhythm for their voice during a lecture. Still on teaching skills, the focus for each lesson is an integral part of the learning objective teachers decide on.
Therefore, the focus skill should be directly related to the structure or vocabulary that teachers are teaching and the context that is being used in. for example, if teachers want to teach polite language for business situations, a person might use polite language when meeting a client, which would be a spoken interaction, or perhaps when sending an email, which would be a written correspondence. Furthermore, it is particularly important to focus on the speaking or writing skills, even though listening and reading respectively would be used in those scenarios, because if a person hears or reads polite language without learning them, they are likely to still be able to understand the message being sent.
However, if one tries to send a message in a business context and does not know how to use polite language, then they might potentially commit a faux pas or even cause offence, of course, practicing speaking and writing with polite language will naturally lead to better recognition of the same when reading and also listening (Adediwura & Bada, 2007).
Among the skills required for successful teaching and learning is feedback skill.
It helps learners to maximize their potential at different stages of training, raise their awareness of strengths and areas for improvement, and identify actions to be taken to improve performance. Feedback can be seen as informal (for example in day-to-day encounters between teachers and students or trainees, between peers or between colleagues) or formal (for example as part of written or clinical assessment).
However, there is no sharp dividing line between assessment and training in the area of giving feedback on learning. Feedback is part of overall dialogue or interaction between teacher and learner, not a one-way communication. Questioning skills are essential to good teaching.
Teachers often use questions to ensure that the students are attentive and engaged, and to assess students understanding. What is more important to note is that in addition to the intent of the question, the question itself matters.
For instance, to ensure that students are attentive (Tartari, 2015). Tartari (2015) believes that closure is the skill in micro-teaching exercise.
Closure is the skill that is concerned with bringing the lesson to an end, and the teacher summarizes the major points of the lesson.
Closure skill can take various forms or shapes such as; closure by questioning on the major points of the lesson and closure by giving pupils exercises. Tartari (2015) therefore concludes that the last teaching skills that undergraduates’ student position on the level of understanding the lesson that has been taught.
Thus, teaching skills have been reported in the literatures to be affected by many factors, in which social media networking is part.
As the world has become a global village because of the technological advancement in the world and Nigeria in particular (Alabi, 2008; Kayode & Ojo, 2011); mobile teaching and learning (M-Learning) in recent years has become a valuable and real contribution to learning environment rather than what it used to be in previous years as a theory, academic exploration and technological idea.
(Alzaza & Yaakub, 2011).
Farzana, Mushahid and Mahe (2010) and Oluwatoyin (2011) have shown that students have turned to the use of social media as their primary means of communication, so much that when they use e-Library, they soon forget their purpose of going online and start updating their status on social networking sites.
Farzana, Mushahid and Mahe (2010) sought information from 95 Universities students on purpose of using social media. It was found that most of them frequently use these social media for making friends but rarely used them for academic purposes.
The use of social media applications such as- WhatsApp, Facebook, 2go, Myspace, Eskimi and others is generating a lot of controversies in public domain particularly in respect of the usefulness and dysfunctional effects.
Akindehin and Akindehin (2011) comment on Social networking can sometimes result in negative outcomes, some with long-term consequences, Bryer and Zapatero (2011) note that over 65% of American adults use social media for networking likewise youths (including tertiary institutions students) all over the world get indulged with social media as useful as easy way of communicating with their loved ones and colleagues. Sim and Pop (2014) asserts that social networks or networking are the main application under the umbrella of social media, which comes with Web 2.0 era.
It is the fastest growing web application in the 21st century.
The wide nature applications like Wikis, video streaming and applications, and social media makes with over 955 million users, followed by Twitter with 500 million users (Sim &Pop, 2014).
Social networking is an important factor that opened doors for remote access of educational material. Such phenomenon is called e-learning, where information communication technology (ICT) is used as a facilitator of communication, assignment management, and task collaboration in universities (Harb & Abu-Shanab 2009).
Social media is a fairly new concept since almost nobody heard or used social media 10-15 years ago. Nevertheless, nowadays websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have more than 1 billion users and account for almost 25% of internet users.
Social media is a phrase used to describe various websites or other forms of technology where people can connect and interact with one another and share information (Heyam,2014).
As defined by Andreas and Michael (2013), social media is a group of internet-based applications that build on ideological and technical foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.
The definition of social media is the relationships that exists between network of people (Qingya, Wei & Yu,2011).
Social media emerged as a term frequently used to describe different types of electronic communication platforms.
The availability of high speed internet broadband connection with massive use of desktop computers, laptops, e-readers, tablets and smartphones enable millions of undergraduates to actively engage in social networking, text messaging, blogging, content sharing, online learning and much more.
Ezike (2014) defines social networking as platforms on which a range of activities take place, as well as locations for interaction among individuals, group and communities.
He notes that majority of the social networking do a lot more than just allow students to have a profile and a friends list; they build upon and integrate many communication tools and technologies such as e-mail, messaging, video-sharing and photo sharing. On the various social networking people engage in a variety of activities.
The mass appeal of the social networking which are virtual communities to the youths of the 21st century is a matter of concern as many students spend a lot of time online (Bolaji, Longe & Odefunso,2014).
Statement of the Problem
In spite of all measures put in place over the years by Nigerian government at the various levels to improve the academic performance of students at various levels of Education, stakeholders are still battling looking for antidote to continue decline in the standard of Education.
In the attempt, the level of teacher professionalism in the classroom today has come under questioning.
It is not clear whether the teachers who are the main hub of the system are adequately equipped with the appropriate information, communication and pedagogical skills requirement to meet the curricular challenges of today’s technology.
Observations have shown that teacher trainees are not absolved of the blames.
Teachers have oftentimes been accused of getting indulged in networking on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Twitter, etc. during school hours; the habit they claimed were learnt during their training to help improve their communication, writing, information acquisition.
Although, opinions have shown that information and communication technology can enhance effective teaching, the extent at which social media can really solve this problem of poor teaching skills of teacher trainees becomes an issue that has not received significant attention.
However, In the study conducted by Kayode, Alabi, Sofoluwe, and Oduwaiye (2015), there is low awareness or usage of social media sites for academic purpose by both lecturers and students.
This is what makes this study to empirically seek the usage of social media of undergraduates in University of Ilorin.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the usage of social media of undergraduates in University of Ilorin.
Specifically, the study also aims at:
i. identify the social media sites used by undergraduate students in University of Ilorin.
ii. ascertain the extent to which social media sites influence undergraduates learning process.
iii. determine the extent to which social media sites influence the acquisition of information by undergraduates University of Ilorin.
The following questions are raised for this study:
i. What are the various social media undergraduate students have access to?
ii. What are the social media used by undergraduate students in University of Ilorin?
iii. How does media influence the learning process of undergraduate students of University of Ilorin?
iv. What is the extent of which undergraduate students of University of Ilorin get relevant information from social media
v. What is the relative effect of social media sites on the communication skills of undergraduate students of University of Ilorin?
Significance of the Study
The study would be of immense benefits to the students and the administration of universities in Nigeria as it would show the usage of social media of Undergraduate students.
This would help the students the students to know the benefits and the hazards connected to the social media.
Universities management will also see the outcome of this study as a source of information that would assist in decision making as regard school resource provision.
Also, the study findings could be used by academic advisers and counsellors in proffering professional advice to the university authorities on how to regulate the social network usage among undergraduate students.
Lastly, the findings of this study would provide facts that will enable the ministry of communication technology to know what arises from students use of the social media networking sites.
This will help the ministry to know how to control social network usage.