Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Undergraduate Students in Paraprofessional Roles and their Use of Online Social Networks
by Koval, Bryan Charles, Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2016, 164; 3744333
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experience of undergraduate students who use online social networks such as Facebook while serving in paraprofessional roles on campus. The researcher conducted a qualitative study to address a primary research question: What is the interplay between college students’ participation in online social networks and campus-based paraprofessional roles? The study identified themes that can be used to understand this student experience. These themes contribute to the growing theoretical understanding of how online social networks and paraprofessional roles impact the college student experience.

A semi-structured interview protocol was devised in light of pertinent literature in the areas of college students in paraprofessional roles, peer mentoring, and computer-mediated relationships. Eleven resident assistants at a large, public research university in Central Pennsylvania agreed to participate in semi-structured interviews to discuss their experiences. They were asked to describe their involvements as resident assistants and users of Facebook. Participants discussed how they understood how their employment as resident assistants and their use of Facebook influenced each other, and their overall experience in their paraprofessional roles.

Through data analysis, three themes emerged: Facebook functionality and use, relationships, and discretion. Participants spoke of dynamic and complex experiences in their roles that were amplified by Facebook. The researcher proposed a Model for Online Social Network Mediated Role Conflict that describes tensions that represent the experience of paraprofessional staff members who use online social networks. Implications for practice and recommendations for additional research are provided.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Chernak, Robert A.
Commitee: Murphy, Michael, Racchini, Amber
School: The George Washington University
Department: Higher Education Administration
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 77/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Education, Higher education
Keywords: Online social networks, Paraprofessionals, Role conflict, Student affairs, Student employment, Supervision
Publication Number: 3744333
ISBN: 978-1-339-37112-2
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