Using Academic Social Networks to Enhance the Student Experience in Online Education

Tiffani Bateman

Abstract


Online universities utilize academic social networks to build connections among students, faculty, and alumni through affinity groups. This study explored how students interact in academic social networks, who they collaborate with, why they use academic social networks, and how this influences their educational experience. This qualitative, interpretive, phenomenological study explored the lived experiences of six online higher education students reporting active participation in an academic social network. Three core themes emerged from data analysis: (a) acceptance and belonging; (b) self-validation; and (c) drawing from multiple perspectives describing how academic social networking communities are formed, why students are using them, and what this means to online higher education. The essence of academic social networking as it relates to self-actualization is discussed, with insights for educational leaders regarding the use of academic social networking and affinity groups in online higher education.


Keywords


Online Learning

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v25i4.2532



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