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Integrating Facebook into Distance Education and Online Learning Environments: To Promote Interactive Online Learning Communities 
Posted on 11 June 2012 by Shahril Effendi Bin Ibrahim (Senior Librarian)
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Ring, Macy
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The 17th Annual Technology, Colleges, and Community Worldwide Online Conference.

Enrollment in distance Education (DE) and online learning environments (OLE) has increased because of advances in information and communications technologies (ICT), changing economic times, and the desire to improve skills. Simultaneously, completion rates of DE and online learning have seen a decline (Xu & Jaggers, 2011). According to Xu and Jaggers (2011), this may be due to feelings of isolation and lack of support, motivation, and time. DE and online learning require high levels of interactivity and good social presence, modeling face-to-face (F2F) environments. Facebook was examined because of its enormous user base, ease of use, and its potential to build online communities. An online instructional module about integrating a Facebook Group Page was developed for university-level educators of DE and OLE. Keller’s ARCS Model of Motivation informed the design. Findings revealed that educators are interested in Facebook, but remain skeptical about its place in education. Many enjoyed the module and performed well, but suggested more interactivity, examples of successful classroom implementation, and information about privacy and self-disclosure. Further research about educators' attitudes of social media in education is needed, as well as, a better understanding of the factors required for a social media to be more appealing and education-worthy. (Abstract by author)

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