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DO SOCIAL NETWORKS PROMOTE SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS?

S. Barnes, C. Egert, N. Cheong

Rochester Institute of Technology (UNITED STATES)
Contrary to what many academics thinkā€”the answer is no. Although, pre-college students have been immersed in social computing technologies that mediate their everyday interactions, they don't necessarily transfer these skills to the learning environment. Before students arrive at college they are using typically blogs, wikis, forums, social connection systems, digital asset sharing systems, and even community game systems to stay connected. When students reach college, their social networks change in both their function and structure. Institutional emphasis is placed upon Course Management Systems (CMS) to augment lecture, classroom and discussion section experiences. While a CMS may share similarities with their favorite social computing technologies, students do not always experience the same level of social engagement from them as they do with the tools they use outside of the academic experience. This paper examines student experience using CMS and social media tools in the classroom from a number of perspectives, including academic approaches in work, communication, and learning. The research is based on a United States National Science Foundation Grant called: Theoretical and Applied Approaches to teaching Social Computing in STEM Education.