Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

How undergraduate students use social media technologies to support group project work
by McAliney, Peter J., Ph.D., New York University, 2013, 235; 3599884
Abstract (Summary)

Technology continues to evolve and become accessible to students in higher education. Concurrently, teamwork has become an important skill in academia and the workplace and students have adopted established technologies to support their learning in both individual and team project work.

Given the emergence of social media technologies, I examined how these new technologies supported or interfered with group development processes underlying the development of team skills as students completed a group project. Using case studies, I examined 11 undergraduate students in an upper level blended class at a public university in the southeastern United States. Data were collected through a variety of sources including focus groups, individual interviews, reflection logs, and other group support tools provide by the instructor to see how students were using social media technologies to support their group project work. Data analysis resulted in six themes: 1) social media technology choices used to support group project work depended on individual team members' prior use and attitudes about technology; 2) social media technology is most useful for the "people" aspects of team projects; 3) certain technologies are more useful at different stages of the project; 4) lack of an explicit social media technology "contract" within a group leads to some unintended, negative consequences; 5) the immediacy associated with social media technology can blur the lines among specific team roles, ownership of tasks, and overall integrated project planning perspective; 6) social media technologies are used to produce a cooperative, not collaborative, deliverable.

For students to continue to make the best use of evolving technology, institutions may want to provide resources such as workshops and self-paced tutorials to students and instructors on how to use social media technologies to support learning outside the classroom. Instructors can enhance students' connections with their coursework by using social media technologies themselves and for class assignments. Researchers can extend this study by studying other student populations, such as adult learners and international students, as well as studying how social media is used in a variety of course delivery modalities, such as traditional classroom-based environments and distance learning.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: O'Connor, Bridget N.
Commitee: Behringer, Laurie, Brookshire, Robert
School: New York University
Department: Administration, Leadership, and Technology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 75/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Web Studies, Educational technology, Higher education
Keywords: Blended learning, Collaborative learning, Group project work, Social media technology, Southeastern United States, Team dynamics
Publication Number: 3599884
ISBN: 9781303496790
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