Title: Perceptions of social media as a learning tool: a comparison between arts and science students

Authors: Laila M.O. Al-Sharqi; Khairuddin Hashim; Hussin A.M. Ahmed

Addresses: European Languages and Literature Department, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia ' Center for Strategic Studies, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia ' Faculty of Engineering, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Abstract: Social media is seen by some as a new media for enhancing the learning environment. It is rich in tools which can help enhance interaction, discussion and the sharing of learning resources. This study investigates differences and similarities on King Abdulziz University (KAU) arts and science students' perceptions of social media as a learning tool. Data were collected using a specially designed survey during the academic year 2013/2014. The sample size was 2,605 students of different ages and genders representing arts and science colleges. The results indicate that a moderate majority of KAU students at both college groups are using social media tools in their learning and have the desire to integrate social media as a tool in their learning at university. Survey results also highlight affinities for various social media tools and purposes of use between the two groups. The paper also reports interesting gender significant differences. The findings include identification of discipline-based dominant perceptions pertaining to advantages and disadvantages of social media in learning. The findings can encourage academic planners and faculty to adopt and implement use of appropriate social media tools and adapt to preferred learning styles within the teaching and learning environment of each college type.

Keywords: social media; higher education; learning tools; student preferences; discipline differences; gender differences; student perceptions; arts students; science students; Saudi Arabia; learning styles.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMILE.2016.075039

International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, 2016 Vol.4 No.1, pp.92 - 108

Received: 02 Feb 2015
Accepted: 04 Sep 2015

Published online: 01 Mar 2016 *

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