Online social networking : exploring the relationship between use of web-based social technologies and community college student engagement
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Over the last decade, community college researchers and practitioners increasingly have focused on student engagement as a cornerstone of a successful student success agenda. This study investigated community college student engagement using an ex post facto quantitative methodology. This study reports the results of the five special-focus survey items from 2009 CCSSE national administration and data collected from institutional Facebook pages. This study measured student engagement levels based on five constructs from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (Active and Collaborative Learning, Student-Faculty Interaction, Academic Challenge, Student Effort, and Support for Learners), including more than 170,000 survey respondents. Differences in engagement levels were explored in terms of student characteristics including gender, race/ethnicity, developmental status, weekly preparation, commute time, age (traditional/nontraditional), and enrollment status (full-time/part-time). The results of this study revealed the following: •An institutional Facebook page can provide both academic and non-academic information. An institutional Facebook page is a central location that students, parents, fans, and others can go to ask questions about the college, either general or specific. •Students are using social networking tools for academic purposes. •Students who took honors course(s) and students who commuted six hours or more per week were more likely to use social networking tools to communicate about coursework. •Students’ use of social networking tools for academic purposes is associated with an increase in student-level benchmark scores. A proportional relationship exists between use of SNT and engagement scores. In general, students who frequently used SNT for academic purposes achieved higher engagement scores. •However, a corollary is also true: Student Effort scores tend to be lower among students who use SNT for any purpose multiple times per day.
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