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Where have all the students gone? They are all on Facebook Now

Dennis Landgrebe Thomsen, Mia Thyrre Sørensen, Thomas Ryberg, Aalborg University

This paper reports and discusses findings from a study carried out amongst a subset of 5th semester students (app. 80) in the programme CDM, Aalborg University (AAU). The purpose of the study was to uncover what networked technologies students use to support their studies and their problem and project based group work. We also wished to explore their rationales and motives for employing those particular tools. While there is much research into the technologies students use we understand too little about students' motives for using or choosing particular technologies (Henderson, Selwyn, & Aston, 2015). In the paper we therefore discuss the technologies they use and their motives for doing so. The study has however unearthed some deeper questions and concerns. For one thing it became apparent that students' uses of networked technologies were heavily reliant on commercial mainstream solutions. Services such as Facebook, Dropbox and Google Docs were the dominant choices of technology and students chose these - without much reflection - as they were the easiest and most widely used. Secondly, it became apparent how these services formed a completely parallel or alternative technological infrastructure to the ones offered by the institution (Moodle). These points have led us to questions such as: Should we promote more critical and reflexive discussion of technologies for learning in higher education, and what is the role of higher education institutions in relation to technological infrastructures i.e. does it make sense to maintain a learning management system if students are not using it. These are issues we raise in the final discussion.

Keywords
Networked Learning, Problem and Project Based Learning, Students' use of Social Media, Institutional Infrastructures, Higher Education, Facebook, ICT

Full Paper - .pdf

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