Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Determining Open Education Related Social Media Usage Trends in Turkey Using a Holistic Social Network Analysis

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Determining Open Education Related Social Media Usage Trends in Turkey Using a Holistic Social Network Analysis

Article excerpt

The rapid development of the internet has given birth to social network sites that have found themselves among the most frequently used internet applications within a very short period of time (Wang, Jackson, Gaskin, & Wang, 2014). Testifying to this fact, 2016 data reveals that 2.307 billion out of 3.419 billion (67%) internet users worldwide are active social media users (Kemp, 2016), demonstrating just how widely social media networks have been adopted. Societies have rapidly adopted social networks, which by bringing individuals together in different ways, like game playing, tagging, working, online socializing, collaboration and communication (Ghali, Panda, Hassanien, Abraham, & Snasel, 2012). With the emergence of social networks, interactions between individuals have changed to a great extent, and with the internet and mobile devices becoming so widespread, a wide variety of collaborative learning opportunities and new e-learning platforms have emerged (Stantchev, Prieto-González, & Tamm, 2015).

According to Kim, Jeong, and Lee (2010), social network sites are defined as a virtual venue facilitating internet users to reach out and communicate with each other and in which online societies are established. According to Junco and Mastrodicasa (2007), social network sites are also the easiest way to connect in a disconnected world. In general, these sites are used by societies for social communications and entertainment purposes (Wang et al., 2014). Today many social network sites are used for various purposes. The most popular being blog-type social networks (Facebook, Google +, tumblr), microblog networks (Twitter), professional networks (LinkedIn, XING), photography related networks (Instagram), video based networks (YouTube, Vine, Instagram video), and networks in which personal interests are shared (Pinterest) (Stantchev et al., 2015).

Providing learners with opportunities to participate in both learning and course groups, social networks are widely used in education environments and have become the subject of various studies. According to Al-Rahmi, Othman, and Yusuf (2015), the use of social media sites in educational activities increases academic performance, satisfaction, engagement, collaboration, and interaction with instructors. According to Wheeler, Yeomans, and Wheeler (2008), benefitting from social network sites in educational environments provides learners with opportunities to share their opinions, show their creativity, and receive feedback from their friends. Providing learners with a wide array of opportunities, social media use in learning environments continues to increase both in traditional classes (inside the classroom) and in online open and distance learning environments (outside the classroom) (Blaschke, 2014; Seaman & Tinti-Kane, 2013).

According to Blaschke (2014), social media provides instructors with opportunity not only to support the development of learners' skills and competencies but also to include them in online classes as part of either open or distance learning systems. The literature includes certain studies on the use of social media to increase interaction between learners and instructors in open and distance learning environments (Van Wyk, 2014). A study conducted in IGNOU, an open university in India, identified the objectives of internet use and revealed that open and distance learners mostly used (80%) such social media as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Blogs for learning and teaching purposes (Awadhiya, Miglani, & Gowthaman, 2014). In another study revealing the importance of social media use in open and distance learning environments, Özmen and Atici (2014b) not only concluded that learners using social media in open and distance learning environments develop positive attitudes toward lessons but also reported increased quality of communication between "learner - learner" and "instructor - learner." Another study by Özmen and Atici (2014a) compared the academic achievements of instructors on the basis of their use of learning management systems and social media. …

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