Stop…Yammer Time: Using Social Media To Help International Students Transition To Masters Level Study

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Abstract

When transitioning from a familiar learning culture to UK higher education (HE), there are a number of academic, cultural and linguistic challenges that international students have to face (Andrade, 2006; Coates and Dickinson, 2012; Wang, 2012). This paper, in considering the obstacles that international students experience, critically analyses the use of social media, as one strategy, to aid the academic transition of a group of postgraduate international students.

Social media is frequently defined in terms of its technical affordances, however, this paper considers a broader conception of social media that moves beyond such affordances and explores the implications of using social media as an education tool to aid academic transition. Specifically, this paper analyses the use of ‘Yammer’ to support peer collaboration and communication for these students in order to enhance their academic development. This communication and collaboration takes place within an advertisement-free, private community that keeps the focus on academic issues and reduces distractions that can be associated with certain types of social media (Reynolds, Wormald and Bailey, 2013).

Within focus groups, participants were asked to think about their motivation, technical knowledge and confidence when using Yammer. They were also asked to comment on the communicative benefits of Yammer and whether the site had encouraged them to support each another, develop friendships, and whether the experience had supported their transition to Masters level study.

Feedback suggested that social support networks were important for academic engagement and development with the paper recommending more training on the affordances of Yammer as part of the induction process, additional online tutor presence, and more ‘scaffolded’ activities to build confidence in using an academic social network.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEDULEARN18 Proceedings
Subtitle of host publication10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
EditorsL. Gómez Chova, A. López Martínez, I. Candel Torres
PublisherIATED Academy
Pages7109-7117
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9788409027095
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2018
Event10th Annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies - Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Duration: 2 Jul 20184 Jul 2018
Conference number: 10
https://iated.org/edulearn/ (Link to Conference Information)

Publication series

NameEDULEARN Proceedings
PublisherIATED Academy
ISSN (Print)2340-1117

Conference

Conference10th Annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Abbreviated titleEDULEARN 2018
CountrySpain
CityPalma de Mallorca
Period2/07/184/07/18
Internet address

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