Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Exploring Electronic Communication Modes between Iraqi Faculty and Students of Pharmacy Schools Using the Technology Acceptance Model

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Exploring Electronic Communication Modes between Iraqi Faculty and Students of Pharmacy Schools Using the Technology Acceptance Model

Article excerpt

Objective. To explore for the first time the extent to which Iraqi pharmacy students and faculty use Facebook and university email for academic communications, and to examine factors influencing utilization within the framework of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM).

Methods. An electronic survey was administered to convenience samples of students and faculty of six Iraqi public schools and colleges of pharmacy in 2015.

Results. Responses included 489 student and 128 faculty usable surveys. Both students and faculty use Facebook more than university email for academic communications. Less than a third of the faculty used university email. Students used Facebook for academic purposes twice as much as faculty.

Conclusion. Absence of university email in Iraqi schools and colleges of pharmacy makes Facebook essential for faculty-student communications. The majority (71.1% to 82%) of respondents perceived that Facebook was easy to use. Three TAM variables (intention to use, attitude toward use and perceived usefulness) had significant positive associations with actual use of both Facebook messaging and university email.

Keywords: Facebook, email, college, students, faculty

INTRODUCTION

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) include any communication device or application, such as smartphones, tablets, computers, videos, distance learning, network hardware and software, and others. (1) Electronic communications save time and effort. Iraqi universities are still developing electronic communications, particularly in circumstances related to instructor-student electronic communications. For instance, most Iraqi universities have not adopted university official email or other web-based communication systems. Iraqi universities have neither implemented Electronic Course Management Systems nor fully activated university email. At most Iraqi universities, only faculty members have university email accounts. However, most faculty members do not have their students' academic email addresses because students are not provided with academic email accounts. Even among faculty members, using one's university email account remains unpopular. In contrast, Facebook, which started in 2004, is very popular and rapidly spreading as a social network site in Iraq. Hence, some faculty members have been using their personal Facebook account for academic purposes, such as informing their students about important upcoming school events. Moreover, many students use Facebook to ask their professors academic-related questions. According to the Arab Social Media Report (2015), 88% of social media users in Iraq have a Facebook account and99%ofFacebook subscriber shave daily access to their accounts. (2)

Literature Review

Facebook can improve the learning experience of students through communication with teachers and classmates in addition to sharing academic materials. (3) Roblyer and colleagues concluded that college students are more willing to use Facebook for academic purposes than faculty members. (4) Hall and colleagues found that 91.8% of pharmacy students in the UK used social media. (5) Given the increased use of technology for teaching purposes, many studies have looked at the impact of different forms of technologies on academic progress. Kim and colleagues reported on other studies that concluded that adapting technology improves teaching and learning processes. Technology like computer-based testing was suggested because it was easy to use and economical. (6) One Iranian study demonstrated that almost all faculty members believed that ICTs are much better than traditional means of education. (1) An Australian study found that integrating ICTs into academic programs provides many benefits for both college students and faculty. For instance, ICTs provide fast and convenient access to information, improve communication, enhance student in-class participation, facilitate distance education, and help students review class materials. …

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