HOW ARE HIGHER EDUCATION STUDENTS USING SOCIAL NETWORKING SERVICES (SOCIAL MEDIA) TO SUPPORT THEIR STUDIES? AN EXPLORATIVE INTERVIEW

M.T. Perez, M.J. Araiza, C. Doerfer

Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (MEXICO)
The purpose of this study is to explore and understand how Higher Education Students are using Social Media to support their studies in higher-education. The social media term has been defined in many different ways. Based on a literature review, Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) define Social Media as “media that allows the creation and exchange of user-generated content” (p. 61). This essentially means that all media that are used to support exchanges among people (e.g. e-mail, social networks, content sharing, and forums) can be considered as Social Media. Alternate definitions consider social media as the interaction among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. It is the students who decide whether a media is used in social ways or not. More than ever, students are immersed in the Social Media, including both face-to-face and virtual worlds. This paper shows results from a study conducted in a Mexican University, in the aim to explore the potential benefits from Social Media on Education. Results indicate that interaction tools have a positive effect on students’ learning processes. The potential benefits of Social Media for students are not only limited to the improvement of learning process used as a communication and a interaction tool, but also as a useful tool that helps students improve their skills, share knowledge and professional development.