A Research Framework for Evaluating the Effectiveness of Implementations of Social Media in Higher Education
Following the lead of today’s hi-tech businesses and industries, many college campuses have begun using Web.2.0 social media technologies like Facebook, blogs, Twitter, and YouTube to facilitate information sharing and collaboration among administrators, faculty, and students. An examination of research on campus social media initiatives revealed that universities are beginning to provide support and infrastructure to support social media initiatives, and that social media tools are being used as part of course content and delivery, where students can use them for collaboration and group decision making on real-world projects. However, much of the research to date was found to be anecdotal, descriptive, and lacking objective evaluation. The paper argues that more rigorous, analytical research is needed to compare and contrast specific features of social media software, the way it is used and implemented, and the outcomes achieved, by students and/or by other stakeholders. To guide future research, the author proposes a research framework that identifies various factors that impact implementations of social media in higher education, as well as relevant outcome variables that should be measured.