The Facebook Phenomenon for Collaborative Learning for University Studies

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Abstract

This article defines the shift in the concept and conditions of collaborative learning for university studies using the social networking tool Facebook and discusses the collaborative learning effect in terms of using Open Educational Resources (OER), creating learning artefacts and new generic competence development. In order to evaluate students’ learning through collaboration in Facebook, qualitative research method and survey of generic competencies based on the Tuning project framework (2003) were used. The data was collected through focus group interviews and analyzed using qualitative content analysis. The qualitative research method was chosen because it provides information of how students collaborate and what experience they gained during the activities. First, Facebook online groups have been identified at three different levels at VMU. The Facebook first level group was the social networking of Vytautas Magnus University’s students and academic staff. The second level group was created for the department dealing with social sciences, and is called “Department of Social Science”. The third level group is “Education Service Management” within the Department of Education. The research was done at the third level group with the students of the “Education Service Management” study programme. As research results show, Facebook as a social network has been changing communication between students, by facilitating the exchange of information and knowledge. The research analyses Facebook in the context of undergraduate university studies, based upon the experience of Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) for using Facebook for university studies. It could be concluded that learning is about developing capabilities to think and to act. Learners using social networking tools for collaborative learning, act, provide feedback and peer-review, asses and rate information. Openness is based on the idea that knowledge is disseminated and shared freely for the benefit of society as a whole. University students collaborate online and learn by using and exchanging OER, as well as developing them as the artefacts of online collaborative learning. They influence task design by creating “educational resources” themselves.

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