Social media, learning and connections for international students: The disconnect between what students use and the tools learning management systems offer
With the increased focus on the use of digital platforms to facilitate teaching and learning comes the challenge of creating connections between international students and their new classmates. The use of social media in higher education may be one avenue that can enable not only learning but also social connections between students to improve the international study experience and sense of community. This article reports on the findings of a small survey study at an Australian university, which demonstrate that the majority of international students surveyed had greater prior experience with social network sites for personal and educational use rather than wikis, blogs, and discussion forums, which are often used in institutional settings. Furthermore, the results suggest that the educational use of social network sites led many participants to add new classmates as profile friends. These findings have implications for the choice of digital platforms for pedagogical use of social media and how that may impact on the teaching of international students in higher education for making connections.
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