About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 643-651
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.1157
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Social media open up multiple options to add a new dimension to learning and knowledge processes.
Particularly, social networking sites (SNS) allow students to connect formal and informal learning settings.
Moodle is an open source Course Management System (CMS), which allows educators to create an online environment in support of teaching and learning activities. Deng and Tavares (in press) found out that students tend to prefer Facebook than Moodle because the latter is too difficult to understand and use and, above all, it is less direct an immediate than Facebook.

The Facebook phenomenon has revolutionised communication patterns especially among students and youths. Facebook has been widely-adopted by students and, consequently, has the potential to become a valuable resource to support their educational communications and collaborations with faculty. For example, Schroeder and Greenbowe (2009) reported that undergraduate would rather use Facebook for online discussion, as a supplement to face-to-face teaching.

As the SNS such as Facebook have evolved, they are no more concevied as just social spaces and they can be used for different and academic purposes (Lampe, Wohn, Vitak, Ellison & Wash, 2011). Different studies (Lampe et al., 2011; Prescott et al., 2013) have investigated the use of Facebook among college students and specifically its use for school related tasks. The results of these studies show that the use of facebook for collaboration depends on the general intensity of facebook use and that students tend to see Facebook as a social tool, not for formal learning.

The principal aim of this explorative study is to investigate the use of Facebook among university students for personal use and for educational purposes.
The work described here was carried out as part of a mandatory course focused on the topic “Psychological Testing”, for students attending the Faculty of Psychology at Genoa University, during the 2013/14 academic year.

The course was planned using a blended approach, a form of training that draws on specific aspects of both face-to-face and online teaching, using Aulaweb. Aulaweb the university virtual placement implemented by Moodle.

Data have been collected at the end of this course through an online questionnaire on LimeSurvey.
The sample (n=109, mean age= 24.65±8.82) is mostly composed by female (89%).

Moreover, a small subgroup of the sample (n=29,mean age=22.41±3.53) is been asked to give four adjectives in order to describe the differences between the use of facebook versus the use of Aulaweb for educational purposes, especially related to the assignements of their course.

Preliminary results suggest that Facebook could be used as a supporting tool for communication and information sharing among university students and that students and perceive the use of aulaweb as more formal and complicated than Facebook.
CSL, Facebook, Moodle, Higher Education.