Facebok in Education: Students, Teachers,and Library Perspectives
Manar I. Hosny, Shameem Fatima
— this paper explores the use and application of Facebook in academia. The study tries to give an insight into howFacebook and similar social networking sites can be used as a medium of communication to help students, teachers as well asthe institution’s library. The aim is to encourage the use of Facebook to complement and enhance classroom teaching. Weinvestigate the benefits of using such medium from the perspectives of the student, the teacher and the librarian. We thenreview some case studies where Facebook was used to promote the learning experience. In this paper, we try to deriveconclusions about best recommendations and practices that academics can follow to improve teaching and learning throughusing Facebook and other similar social networking sites.
E-learning, Facebook, Social Networking Sites, Web 2.0
term “Social Network” has been suggested by J.A.Barnes in 1954. It corresponds to a network of rela-tionships between different information processingentities such as people, groups, and organizations. A So-cial Networking Site (SNS) is a type of websites with in-dividual user profiles, forming a traversable networkedcommunity for social interaction . A user profile con-tains personal information about each member, such as:name, gender, age, interests, etc. Social Networking Sites(SNSs) bring people together and allow them to commu-nicate by making new friends, exchanging ideas and en-gaging in similar interests. These sites in general providetools for posting messages, sharing photos, creating per-sonal pages and groups. Besides communicating withfriends, social networking sites are increasingly beingused for business, advertisement or entertainment. Theyare also currently used to connect government entitieswith people by posting announcements, taking votes andsharing opinions. Boyd and Ellison  define social net-working as:
“Web based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi public profile within a bounded system, (2) arti-culate a list of other users with whom they share a connection,and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and thosemade by others within the system.”
Based on the above definition, social networking ap-pears as an approach to support a social or professionalrelationship of people among themselves or betweengroups of similar interests. The most common featuresinclude personal profile creation, uploading of photosand videos, participation in groups, and message send-ing. SNSs currently attract millions of people around theworld, resulting in the creation of a sophisticated envi-ronment of sharing and collaboration.Social networking websites such as Facebook, MyS-pace, Twitter and LinkedIn are popularly used by mil-lions of people to communicate with friends, family andcolleagues. As of January 2012, Facebook has over 800million users around the world . While in July 2011,Twitter has 250 million users, LinkedIn has 115 millionusers, and MySpace has 50 million users . The users ofsocial networking sites create personal profiles throughwhich they connect to a group of other people, usuallyknown as friends, followers or connections. Users sharelinks and multimedia content, and they can form sub-groups of common interests or goals, where they can en-gage in active online discussions. The communication between connected members may be public through theirprofiles, or private through personal messages sent be-tween them.Nowadays, there are several online social networkingsites that differ among each other in their layout, style,functionality and purpose. Some countries have their ownsocial networks such as StudiVZ (Germany), Qzone (Chi-na), Maktoub’s Ashab (Saudi Arabia), and Mixi (Japan).Some social networking sites are dedicated to a specificarea of interest of the users, such as professional profiles,art, music, and photo sharing networks
LinkedIn is dedi-cated to professional profiles, devianART is a social net-working site dedicated to art. Flickr is a social networkingsite for photo sharing, and Last.fm is dedicated to music.Besides social, commercial and governmental usage, theomnipresence of social networking sites in our daily livescan be exploited in academia as well. SNSs can be used tocreate an interactive and transparent learning environ-ment between teachers and their students, where they caneasily communicate and exchange information. In addi-
M.I. Hosny is with the Computer Science Department, College of Comput-er and Information Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh,Saudi Arabia.
S. Fatima is with the Information Technology Department, College of Computer and Information Sciences, King Saud University.Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
JOURNAL OF COMPUTING, VOLUME 4, ISSUE 6, JUNE 2012, ISSN (Online) 2151-9617https://sites.google.com/site/journalofcomputingWWW.JOURNALOFCOMPUTING.ORG78