About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4524-4533
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain

FACEBOOK AS A TOOL FOR COMMUNICATION WITH UNDERGRADUATE TAXATION STUDENTS

T. Hills, S. Pienaar

University of Pretoria (SOUTH AFRICA)
The use of Facebook, the most popular social network service on the internet, is increasing rapidly. Currently, according to population size, Facebook is the third-largest country in the world. University students are part of a new generation, working with ease and confidence in this social environment. Because Facebook is such a powerful tool, its pedagogical uses are endless. The very design of Facebook allows its use as both a social and academic interface. The research question to be asked is whether this powerful, pull-force tool could be incorporated into the teaching environment to improve communication with students.

The aim of the article is to explore the use of Facebook as a communication tool in an undergraduate taxation module presented at the University of Pretoria. The study was conducted under a group of 820 students. The principal aim of this study is to investigate the efficacy of Facebook as a communication tool for undergraduate taxation students, and evaluate the effectiveness of the established tool.

This study follows a multipart research approach. The research design can be described as follows:
• Action research followed in setting up the Facebook group and regularly responding to feedback from students;
• A quantitative web-based survey of all students registered for the undergraduate taxation module, and interpretation of the responses received. The survey evaluated the students’ experiences in the Facebook group.

The results of the study show that, in the current volatile teaching and learning environment, it is vital to create an educationally dynamic environment for students. In making use of familiar technologies like Facebook, educators could create a powerful learning environment, merging the students’ creative, collaborative, social and interactive capabilities. Access to Facebook via cell phones, coupled with the fact that most students use their cell phones regularly for Facebook anyway, makes it an even more viable communication tool. Students and lecturers could be more closely connected within an online academic environment, which could benefit relationships from both points of view.

However, it is evident from the results of the survey that the use of such a group should be clearly communicated and explained to students to ensure that they all know that such a group exists and can understand its intention. Further, a Facebook group cannot in any way be a substitute for the university’s formal learning management system. However, it could work effectively as an additional communication tool. The feedback from the students who joined the group indicates that they generally felt that the group was effective, and that Facebook should be used as a communication tool across their modules. Students are involved in classroom networks, and use Facebook as an academic tool daily, with the social network as its foundation. Lecturers will therefore have to learn how to use the interface to the best possible advantage in the academic environment.
@InProceedings{HILLS2011FAC,
author = {Hills, T. and Pienaar, S.},
title = {FACEBOOK AS A TOOL FOR COMMUNICATION WITH UNDERGRADUATE TAXATION STUDENTS},
series = {3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN11 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-0441-1},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {4524-4533}}
TY - CONF
AU - T. Hills AU - S. Pienaar
TI - FACEBOOK AS A TOOL FOR COMMUNICATION WITH UNDERGRADUATE TAXATION STUDENTS
SN - 978-84-615-0441-1/2340-1117
PY - 2011
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2011
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN11 Proceedings
SP - 4524
EP - 4533
ER -
T. Hills, S. Pienaar (2011) FACEBOOK AS A TOOL FOR COMMUNICATION WITH UNDERGRADUATE TAXATION STUDENTS, EDULEARN11 Proceedings, pp. 4524-4533.
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