Times of Oman
Dec 01, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 08:15 AM GMT
Social media based teaching and learning
June 12, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Dr Manishankar Chakraborty; Lecturer-Business Studies & Salim Al Rashdi; Assistant Dean for Administration and Finance, Ibra College of Technology, Sultanate of Oman

Social media has become an inseparable component of modern day human life. It is the in thing for all individuals, be it in the personal or the professional domain. Even though there are challenges that one needs to overcome, the benefits far outweighs the drawbacks if it is being used in the right spirit and with an ethical intention. Teaching-Learning especially in the higher educational set-up calls for continuous innovation with newer practices being implemented by blending conventional approaches with technologies. Social media based teaching and learning is one way of doing it. The successful implementation at the Business Studies department of Ibra College of Technology puts forth the following learning for the allied stakeholders to consider in the larger interest of the teaching-learning community engaged in the tertiary education sector.

Enhanced learning experience
Social media provides an enhanced learning experience for the students as they are habituated in using social media for personal purposes, apart from the trendy handsets of smart phones and laptops/palmtops that they possess and use regularly. A bachelor level student studying performance appraisal and productivity course opines, "Social Media based learning enables me to go for self-paced learning".

24x7x365 learning
Social media based learning enables the lecturer-learner duo to be in touch on a continuous basis, thereby improving the scope of discussion and doubt clarification, free from time and geographical barriers.

Reinforcement, motivational, reminding tool
Social media can be used as a tool for learning reinforcement and also as a follow-up measure subsequent to the completion of the classroom lecture or even on a real time basis within the classroom. It has also been seen to be effective while used in a blended lecture mode. It is also used as a tool to motivate, announce and remind the students about various activities and assessments.

Improved participation
An advanced diploma student pursuing the teamwork management course accepted the fact when he said, "My level of participation improved manifold with the introduction of social media, which not only paved the way for virtual peer learning, but also encouraged me to participate in the classroom".

Convergence provides value-added experience
Converging social media tools like Facebook, Blogs, YouTube, Wikipedia, Twitter, Behance, Slideshare, etc., with in-house learning management systems or e-learning tools like MOODLE only adds to the overall teaching-learning quotient. The key to optimum usage of social media tools, however, depends on the right positioning of the right platform for the right purpose, when they are to be used in isolation.

Hidden identity, but real learning

A conservative, value based Omani society at times might often consider social media as a taboo, especially amongst the female section, however, that can be nullified by encouraging them to open fake ID's devoid of real names, personal information and even picture with the sole purpose of participating in the teaching-learning exercise.

Social media provides the much needed facelift to the conventional teaching-learning domain by bringing in more interactivity, better understanding and bigger learning takeaways for the lecturer and the learner.

The authors experimented using the following link to infer the aforesaid observations

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