Facebook Mediated Interaction and Learning in Distance Learning at Makerere University
Muyinda, Paul Birevu
Isabwe, Ghislain Maurice Norbert
Siminyu, Samuel Ndeda
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This paper reports on an investigation of the use of Facebook as a tool to mediate learning amongst distance learners at Makerere University, a dual-mode institution offering both conventional and distance learning programs. While conventional courses take 17 weeks in a semester, the distance learners come in for two residential sessions, each lasting for two weeks. The study focused on Bachelor of Commerce (External) students doing an Introduction to Information and Communication Technology course. This course was run through face-to-face sessions and the use of Facebook to increase interaction among learners. Out of the 650 students on the course, 621 joined the Facebook class page. In this paper we report on the students' perceptions about using Facebook for teaching and learning, and specifically if it mediated interactive learning. The Facebook class page was used as a discussion board. The questionnaire on which this evaluation was based was uploaded two months after the course ended. Interactive feedback through posts, 'likes' and comments were received from students. Results show that learners appreciated the use of Facebook for interactive learning, hence fostering meaningful learning. We also tried to match the affordances of Facebook for modeling, contingency management, feedback, instructing and questioning. Feedback and questioning were well received on Facebook during the course, indicating that Facebook mediated interaction and learning. We contend that if Facebook is to be used for meaningful teaching and learning, then there must be an appropriate and systematic mechanism for integrating educational activities in the platform.
- Social Sciences