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JOURNAL OF COMPUTING, VOLUME 4, ISSUE 6, JUNE 2012, ISSN (Online) 2151-9617 https://sites.google.com/site/journalofcomputing WWW.JOURNALOFCOMPUTING.

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Facebok in Education: Students, Teachers, and Library Perspectives


Manar I. Hosny, Shameem Fatima
Abstract this paper explores the use and application of Facebook in academia. The study tries to give an insight into how Facebook and similar social networking sites can be used as a medium of communication to help students, teachers as well as the institutions library. The aim is to encourage the use of Facebook to complement and enhance classroom teaching. We investigate the benefits of using such medium from the perspectives of the student, the teacher and the librarian. We then review some case studies where Facebook was used to promote the learning experience. In this paper, we try to derive conclusions about best recommendations and practices that academics can follow to improve teaching and learning through using Facebook and other similar social networking sites. Index Terms E-learning, Facebook, Social Networking Sites, Web 2.0.

1 INTRODUCTION
HE term Social Network has been suggested by J.A. Barnes in 1954. It corresponds to a network of relationships between different information processing entities such as people, groups, and organizations. A Social Networking Site (SNS) is a type of websites with individual user profiles, forming a traversable networked community for social interaction [1]. A user profile contains personal information about each member, such as: name, gender, age, interests, etc. Social Networking Sites (SNSs) bring people together and allow them to communicate by making new friends, exchanging ideas and engaging in similar interests. These sites in general provide tools for posting messages, sharing photos, creating personal pages and groups. Besides communicating with friends, social networking sites are increasingly being used for business, advertisement or entertainment. They are also currently used to connect government entities with people by posting announcements, taking votes and sharing opinions. Boyd and Ellison [2] define social networking as: Web based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. Based on the above definition, social networking appears as an approach to support a social or professional relationship of people among themselves or between groups of similar interests. The most common features include personal profile creation, uploading of photos and videos, participation in groups, and message sending. SNSs currently attract millions of people around the

world, resulting in the creation of a sophisticated environment of sharing and collaboration. Social networking websites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn are popularly used by millions of people to communicate with friends, family and colleagues. As of January 2012, Facebook has over 800 million users around the world [3]. While in July 2011, Twitter has 250 million users, LinkedIn has 115 million users, and MySpace has 50 million users [4]. The users of social networking sites create personal profiles through which they connect to a group of other people, usually known as friends, followers or connections. Users share links and multimedia content, and they can form subgroups of common interests or goals, where they can engage in active online discussions. The communication between connected members may be public through their profiles, or private through personal messages sent between them. Nowadays, there are several online social networking sites that differ among each other in their layout, style, functionality and purpose. Some countries have their own social networks such as StudiVZ (Germany), Qzone (China), Maktoubs Ashab (Saudi Arabia), and Mixi (Japan). Some social networking sites are dedicated to a specific area of interest of the users, such as professional profiles, art, music, and photo sharing networks. LinkedIn is dedicated to professional profiles, devianART is a social networking site dedicated to art. Flickr is a social networking site for photo sharing, and Last.fm is dedicated to music. Besides social, commercial and governmental usage, the M.I. Hosny is with the Computer Science Department, College of Comput- omnipresence of social networking sites in our daily lives er and Information Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, can be exploited in academia as well. SNSs can be used to Saudi Arabia. create an interactive and transparent learning environ S. Fatima is with the Information Technology Department, College of Computer and Information Sciences, King Saud University.Riyadh, Saudi ment between teachers and their students, where they can Arabia. easily communicate and exchange information. In addi-

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tion, since the success of any teaching and learning process largely depends upon the availability of rich resources, some academic libraries have created their own library pages to reach students during and after their university study. In this paper we will explore how social networking sites can be used in teaching and learning. We specifically focus on the most popular SNS, Facebook, and how it can be utilized from the above mentioned three perspectives: the teacher, the student and the library. We give examples of some case studies of academic institutions that have used SNSs in education, and try to come up with recommendations about the best practices and applications that may be used to successfully exploit SNSs in teaching and learning. The rest of this paper is organized as follows: Section 2 is short review of some related work that highlights the importance of SNSs in education. Section 3 is an overview of some social networking sites that can be used in teaching and learning. Section 4 focuses on Facebook and the features that it provides, which can be used for educational purposes. Sections 5 and 6 explain the benefits of using Facebook from the perspectives of students and teachers respectively. Sections 7 and 8 discuss the library and how Facebook can be beneficial to the librarian to connect with students. Section 9 then gives an overview of some real applications in which academic institutions experimented with Facebook as a possible tool to enhance classroom teaching. Finally, Section 10 concludes this paper with some recommendations derived from the above analysis and final thoughts about the future of using SNSs in education.

2 RELATED WORK
Munoz and Towner [5] discuss the advantages of using Facebook in education, and the different methods and best practices that the teacher can use to enhance classroom learning. According to the authors, the reactions towards using social networking sites in education are mixed. Some feel that SNSs are not a suitable venue for education, while others are in support of integrating Web 2.0 technology, like Facebook, Wikis and blogs, with education. The authors make a comparison between Facebook and other currently employed learning management systems, like Blackboard. They concluded that many features available on Facebook, such as bulletin boards, instant messaging, online discussion, and the ability to post photos and videos, mirror those available in Blackboard and similar courseware. Nevertheless, Facebook features are distinguished with ease of use, frequent updates and compatibility with different browsers. The research explains some Facebook features that can be used for education, such as profile page, creating a group for a class, discussion boards, and integrating Facebook applications. Finally, the study gives recommendations about best practice polices that the instructor can follow to avoid invasion of his/her privacy as well as the privacy of the students. In addition, some suggestions about how to engage students in class activities and how to share documents,

links, websites and videos are briefly highlighted. Rodrigues et al. [6] discuss the potential of using SNSs to enhance the e-learning experience. The paper stresses the importance of e-learning in allowing students to become active participants who can share opinions, post resources and engage in productive discussions. Currently Learning Management System (LMS) software, is the main application that is used for delivering course contents and interacting with students in an e-learning environment. However, LMS applications are usually characterized by having a rigid one-way learning platform, where students access the contents designed and uploaded by the instructor. This often results in the lack of interest and stimulation from the students side. From the authors point of view, social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Wikis and Blogs have a great potential in enhancing e-learning, since they provide a rich collection of features and applications that allow students to play an active role by creating and sharing contents. Thus, students can shape their own learning process and develop a critical sense, through the interaction with people of different interests and opinions. Griffith and Liyanage [7] explore social networking sites that can be used in education, giving insight into the positive and negative aspects of using such media for teaching and learning. The study mainly focuses on Facebook and MySpace. It describes the features available in both networks, and similarities and differences in terms of services available to users and how the profile can be customized in both. The study then explains briefly the benefits of using SNSs in education to complement classroom learning and to motivate students and encourage active discussions among common interest groups. According to the authors, among the limitations of using SNSs, though, is the risk of information exposure, which can lead to serious consequences. Another risk is the type of messages that may be posted on the wall, which may sometimes become offensive. A good guide for instructors on the benefits and use of Facebook in education can be found in [8]. This guide is designed to help educators who want to get started on using Facebook to better connect and interact with their students. There are several ways that an instructor can follow to successfully use Facebook for educational purposes. To start with, educators must encourage students to follow Facebook guidelines, for example by not using Facebook for students under 13 years of age. Educators must also stay up to date with safety and privacy settings of Facebook. They should encourage students to protect their privacy and be aware that there are special Facebook privacy settings for people under 18. Instructors should also promote good citizenship in the digital world, by encouraging students to behave responsibly, protect each other, and report any abuse or bullying. To communicate with their students, instructors can use pages and groups features, rather than using their own personal profiles, in order to protect their privacy. In what follows we describe some social networking sites that can be used in the academic field to enhance the teaching and learning experience.

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3 SOCIAL NETWORKING TECHNOLOGY IN ACADEMIA


As the mode of instruction changed from the traditional classroom lecturing to the online interactive tutoring, educational institutions are currently under pressure to adopt new educational technology within their field. Nowadays, educational technology, such as WebCT and Blackboard, are being used to help students perform better and increase their productivity within the classroom, as well as to encourage them to become more engaged in the learning process. However, the availability of such tools put a tremendous pressure on students to cope with a more complex learning environment and new technologies that they have to become familiar with [9]. On the other hand, the popularity and extensive use of social networking sites, like Facebook, Wikis, and blogs, can now be used by teachers and students as an effective communication tool inside and outside the classroom, without requiring that students learn a new technology, since most of them are already using one more of these SNSs. In the academic field, social networking sites are mainly used to create chat-room forums and groups to extend classroom discussions. In addition, they are used to post assignments, tests, quizzes, links, and extra resources. Through SNSs, a teacher may take the students opinion or feedback about certain course content, and can also send and receive messages to an individual or a group of students. The following are some social networking sites that can be used in education: Facebook: In early 2004, Facebook was launched by Mark Zuckerberg, a former student of Harvard university. It was initially limited to college students at Harvard with a university email address [2]. Later, it spread like wild fire and became the most popular and most visited website. Users of the site have to register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users of the site as friends, and send and receive messages. Their friends also receive automatic notifications when they update their profiles, or upload photos or links. In January, 2012 the number of Facebook users is estimated to be over 800 million all over the world [3]. Besides social communication and group discussions, Facebook has a large number of applications that users can engage in, the most popular of which are games and quizzes. Twitter: Twitter is a social network site that was established by Jack Dorsey in 2006 [6]. It is one of the top 10 most used sites in the world [10]. Twitter rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with over 250 million users as of July, 2011[4]. The users of the site have to register before using the site. Once the user creates a profile, he/she can posts updates and view updates posted by people he/she follows. Twitter enables its users to post short messages called Tweets, which consist of a maximum of 140 characters. Tweets usually express feelings, thoughts or activities of the users. Updates are displayed in real time so that followers can be immediately notified with new information as they happen. Many companies are currently utilizing this resource as a means to advertise their products, through constant updates. Twitter allows continuous

interaction between users and, therefore, is an excellent means of advertising and broadcasting. MySpace: MySpace is a social network site similar to other networks such as Hi5 or Facebook. Users join the site by completing a profile describing personal interests, through which they can choose among two types of profiles: a personal profile and a musician profile. MySpace provide features like: network of friends, blogs, similar interest groups, upload photos, upload music files and videos. The ability to upload music files has significantly helped to increase the popularity of MySpace, becoming a well-known platform for artists promotion. The profile information can be shared with others, depending on the privacy preferences of the individual, as well as the supported features of the site. Among the above mentioned SNSs, Facebook seems to be the most popular and most effective when it comes to education. The reason is probably that the site is already used by a large number of teachers and students for social communication, and utilizing it in the teaching and learning process could be appealing to many students and teachers. Despite this, the use of Facebook in education still seems to be at an early stage. Some recent studies have indicated the scarcity of using Facebook among students and teachers for learning and teaching purposes [11], [12], [13]. Thus, in this paper we try to highlight how Facebook can be utilized effectively to enhance classroom teaching and promote a personal learning experience for students. In what follows, we assume the readers familiarity with the main Facebook features used for social interaction. For more details about these features the user is referred to [8].

4 USING FACEBOOK IN ACADEMIA


Facebook provides an excellent means of communication between students and teachers during the lifetime of a course. TABLE 1 COURSE TO FACEBOOK MAPPING

Course
Course Profile Course Content Course Events Students Groups Announcements Group Discussions

Facebook
Profile Info Events Groups Status Update Discussion Boards/ Online Chat Messages Comment/Like/Ask Questions Share

Emails Feedback/Evaluation

Information Sharing

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Table 1 shows a mapping between some course requirements and Facebook features that can be used to fulfill or facilitate the achievement of these requirements, as explained below: Course Profile Profile: The teacher creates a course profile and adds students as friends. The course profile is used to communicate with students via Facebook, by sending emails, messages, or posting on the participants walls. For instance, a wall post on the course profile may include certain class announcements posted by the teacher, or a homework inquiry posted by a student. Course Content Info: Dissemination of course related information, such as the syllabus, the text book, instructor contact information, and links to some useful resources. Course Events Events: The events feature in Facebook may be used to announce activities such as presentations by students, seminars, trips, conferences, etc. They may also be used to announce weekly assignments, quizzes, tests, or evaluations. Students Groups Groups: A number of group pages may be created specifically for a course. Groups allow students and teachers to interact and share information with each other. Groups may be created for students with similar interests to share information and useful material. Or, they may be created for students to work on collaboration projects. Usually course groups are closed, i.e., the group contents are available only to members of the group, which helps protect the privacy of students. Announcement Status Update: Publishing various types of departmental or course announcements to students, or certain tips and advices by the teacher. Group Discussion Discussion Boards/Online Chat: Discussion boards can be used to discuss certain course related topics between students with or without the teacher involvement. The online chatting feature can also be used to discuss topics privately between two or more members. Emails Messages: Facebook messages allow private communication between the instructor and an individual or a group of students. Instant messaging, with the notification feature, may help in sending messages and receiving responses faster than traditional emails. Feedback/Evaluation Comment/Like/Ask Questions: To assess the quality of certain course content, the instructor may take the feedback of students through their comments, or by counting the number of those who liked this content. The Ask Questions application can also be used to vote about a certain subject. Information Sharing Share: Both the instructor and students can share useful material, such as videos, news, or articles, using the Share on Facebook feature available in most websites.

5 STUDENT PERSPECTIVE: BENEFIT FROM USING FACEBOOK


Hamann and Wilson [14] found that students who participated in a web-enhanced class education outperformed those being taught in a traditional lecturing environment. From the perspective of students, using Facebook for

learning offers many benefits that may help them perform better and become active learners. The following is some advantages of using Facebook from the students perception: It gives students the ability to communicate with their teacher outside the classroom, which may help establish a closer bond between them, since the students feel that the teacher is available for them anytime they need him/her. It allows students to actively engage in the learning process, contrary to being negative recipients of material presented to them orally in the classroom. It gives students a sense of reliability and accountability. It gives students who are shy to participate and speak aloud in the classroom the opportunity to express their thoughts through writing. It helps students to improve their writing skills, since they will practice expressing their thoughts and reflections on specific course topics. It allows students to develop their problem solving skills, through collaboration with a wide range of contacts having different backgrounds and capabilities [6]. Students choose the most suitable time to login and engage in discussions. The student has a chance to reflect on topics and comments and decide the appropriate time to reply. Course contents are made available ondemand, so that students can view them anytime through any medium, whether on a laptop, desktop, mobile phone, IPad, etc [8]. Students become more stimulated and interested in course material and build knowledge by linking theory to practice. It may help students develop a positive perception towards learning, and improve their overall learning experience [15], [16]. It can encourage self confidence and raise self esteem, when students receive positive feedback or a praising comment from their teacher or colleagues [17], [18]. To help students engage into a competitive environment that may help develop their creativity and self motivation. To help establish a positive relationship among students, and facilitate finding colleagues of similar interests and backgrounds [19], [20]. To help students explore new learning path and practice self training by guiding them and providing them with the necessary tools and resources to reach their goal [11]. To help students engage in critical thinking and

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increase their self dependence, sense of responsibility and autonomy [21]. Online discussions and debates help students develop their debating, persuasion and summarizing skills [22]. Facebook learning may also be of great help to students with special needs or learning difficulties, since it allows various communication media that may fit the different needs of those students.

6 TEACHER PERSPECTIVE: BENEFIT FROM USING FACEBOOK


From the perspective of the teachers, using Facebook, and similar social networks, can help enhance the interaction between them and their students and improve the teaching experience in many ways. Some benefits of using Facebook from the point of view of the teacher are the following: To view the student as a partner in the teaching/learning process [23]. The student has an active dynamic role that helps in the promotion of the whole learning experience, thus a student-centered approach is encouraged. To enhance social interactions among students and improve the quality of engagement between them and their teacher, which can help create a more effective learning environment. The amount of interaction can also be easily measured to evaluate the effectiveness of the experience [13]. To feel closer to his/her students by breaking the traditional formal barriers of classroom student/teacher relationship. Learning more about the students, simply by viewing their profiles or reading their comments on Facebook [7]. To provide helpful educational input in a variety of ways and at different times other than the limited lecture time. To analyze and compare the achievement of students and the knowledge they acquire in different ways [13]. To practice different pedagogical approaches depending on the needs of the students [11]. To practice different social and psychological interaction skills that may help establish a closer relationship between the teacher and his/her students [24]. To discover distinguished students who have potential that will probably only appear through direct continuous communication with their teach-

er, or through their active participation in the social network. To develop the necessary technological skills that will help in effectively performing different educational activities [11]. To interactively update and improve the taught material depending on the feedback and evaluation of students and other participants, e.g. invited experienced guests in the social network site. To help identify areas of concern and take appropriate measures to deal with them throughout the lifetime of the course, or at other iterations. To reach students very rapidly if needed by posting announcements and other important information. To develop a wealth of resources, which are easily accessible and can be re-used later or in other areas. To reduce some educational costs that involve physical classroom expenses [25]. To connect easily with colleagues and parents and share useful information that can help improve the teaching process [8].

7 FACEBOOK AND THE LIBRARY


Nowadays, many librarians have joined Facebook to promote library services of a certain institution. The librarys Facebook page can be usually accessed directly from the librarys homepage. Its main purpose is to market the library, post announcements to library users, share photos, and provide online help. Although the interaction is mainly one-sided, i.e., through announcements posted from the librarys side, there is still a good potential of interaction by initiating discussions and taking feedback from students [26]. Some Facebook features that a librarian can use to accomplish these takes are the following: Profile/Page: The librarian creates his/her own profile and adds students as friends, or creates a page that students can like. Communication between the librarian and the users then occurs through posting on the wall of the page. The contents of wall posts include activities such as publicizing the librarys news and events, links to web resources and videos, and announcing new books, journals and electronic resources. Info: Library information page provides details of library services, rules, locations, important links and contact information of library personnel. Events: To announce library events, such as workshops, training courses, book fairs and conferences conducted in the department or the institution. Status Update: similar to wall posts, status updates give students recent information they need to know to use the library. For example, the librarys opening hours in holiday times, librarys services interruption, new books and

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journals additions, new computer equipment, etc. Online Discussion/Online chat: To discuss available or newly added books or to consult the librarian in case help is needed to access some library services. Emails/Messages: To be used for private communication between the librarian and students. For example, the librarian can contact a student in case a book he/she has reserved becomes available, to follow up interlibrary loan requests, or to remind students of overdue books. Feedback/Comments: To provide comments and suggestions for service improvement in the library. For example, books are available in the catalog but could not be found on the shelves, need more best seller books, withdraw old books, etc.

Utilize third party library-related applications that allows searching and accessing library content from within Facebook, such as: JSTOR, WorldCat, and LibGuides [27]. The following section describe some experiments conducted by academic institutions in which Facebook was used or investigated for the purpose of supporting classroom teaching.

9 CASE STUDIES
9.1 Case Study 1: Fouser [12] reports on a case study of the use of the Facebook in a Korean language education class at Seoul National University (SNU). The study was conducted in an elective course for undergraduate students. The goal was to provide students with a introduction to social linguistic concepts and research methods. The case study was based on discussions and student generated data that are shared through Facebook and counts as 10% of the course grade. The class consists of 11 students, three of whom were international students studying Korean as foreign language. All the students were familiar with the leading SNS site (Cyworld) in Korea. To use Facebook for teaching, the instructor established a new Facebook account for the course and formed a private group, allowing only students in the class to join the group. During the course, students were given Korean language questionnaire mainly based on: (1) the convenience of using Facebook; (2) comparing Facebook with other SNS such as Cyworld; and (3) comparing Facebook with eTL (Backboard) at SNU. The results showed that the students had a positive attitude towards the use of Facebook, mainly because of the group interface that provides easy access to the groups wall, online discussion and sharing of photos taken during field studies. Most students preferred Facebook over Cyworld which seems to provide a one-way communication. They also found Facebook more attractive to use than Blackboard as it is easier to navigate and learn. On the other hand, the instructor found the inability to upload PDF files and MSWord documents inconvenient at times. The study concluded that using Facebook and other SNSs can be more effective in classes with a small number of students. It also suggested that more research about the use of social networks to enhance classroom teaching is needed to gain an insight into the usefulness of such medium in education in the long run. 9.2 Case Study 2: Roblyer et al. [13] report on the current adoption and use of social networking sites such as Facebook by students and faculty. They examined the willingness of students and teachers to adopt these tools for instructional purposes to support classroom teaching. The methodology used in this experiment was an online survey at a midsized southern public university in the USA. 120 students and 41 faculty members completed the survey. The survey focused on whether each group had a Facebook account,

8 LIBRARY PERSPECTIVE: BENEFIT FROM USING FACEBOOK


As mentioned in Ayu and Abrizah [27], the Association of college and Research Libraries (ACRL) Research Planning and Review Committee reported that social networking sites such as Facebook are one of the most important technological changes that are affecting academic libraries at present and in the near future. Using social networking sites, such as Facebook, the library can promote a perception among students that expands beyond books. Thus, it can help students discover that the library is more useful and approachable than they have previously thought [26]. Some benefits of using Facebook from the librarys perspective can be summarized as follows: To create an interactive environment to connect and communicate better with students [26],[27]. To allow users to share information and useful resources. To announce and create awareness of the services and resources available to users through their library. To promote training activities and courses offered by the library [28]. To provide instant help for users who are accessing online library resources. Making awareness of cultural activities conducted outside the university, such as local book fairs, seminars, and symposiums. To establish a long term connection with students that may extend beyond the duration of their study period [26]. To connect the students with the academic institution they belong to by posting general information about the history, accomplishments, publications, faculty members and other information that is unique to the institution and not necessarily related to the library [26]. Improve its services and facilities by taking feedback and encouraging students to evaluate and suggest possible improvements.

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and the main purpose for using the account, and whether they were willing to use it as a classroom support tool. The results show that faculty and students differ considerably in the current and expected uses of SNSs. Students communicate as much with Facebook as they do with technologies traditionally used in colleges (e.g. email). Students were also found to be more open to the idea of using Facebook instructionally than faculty members. Instructors who have Facebook accounts do not use them daily for communication as much as they use their email. A Significant number of faculty think that Facebook is not for education. In fact, education was reported as the least-common use of Facebook in this study. The study also suggests that students seem to have more potential than faculty who teach and mentor them in accepting Facebook as a future tool to enhance learning. Hence, the study recommends that there should be a change in the faculty perception of Facebook and other technology that could have a great potential for improving higher education.

Most students also expressed a positive feedback when asked about how they found the experience of using Facebook as a collaboration tool. A survey was also distributed to students at the end of the experiment, which showed that 78% of students think it is useful to use Facebook to complement classroom learning, although only 55% think that Facebook actually improved their learning. Overall, the results suggest that there is a great potential for the informal learning environment where users utilize Facebook and other popular social networking sites as a centralized space for communication and collaboration, and to complement and enhance in-class learning.

9.3 Case Study 3: Racthman and Firpo [9] explore the use of social networking Web 2.0 technology to enhance education. The study was conducted to update the material taught in an Introduction to MIS (Management Information System) course at the Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy at Thammasat University in Thailand. The study was trying to investigate how students can use Facebook within the context of a course to collaborate between each other and their teachers, and how this experience can promote an engaging and more effective learning environment. The participants in the experiment were divided into four groups: (1) Learning Facilitators (LF), which consists of two instructors who guide and mentor students to learn from both in-class exercises and online discussions; (2) Active Participants (AP), which consists of 69 students who used Facebook to communicate with each other outside the class. The AP group updates the Facebook group by posting IT related news, responding to each others comments and posting photos and videos; (3) Learning Assistant (LA), a teaching assistant whose role is to monitor the communication between all members, and to answer students inquiries, as well as sending assignment remainders to students; and finally (4) Friends of the Community (FOC), which includes a group of prior students, who requested to join the Facebook subgroup. They dont have a defined task but often comment on various wall posts to give advice to students from their previous experience. The result analysis was based on analyzing Facebook activities such as: a) wall posts, which include mainly class announcements and homework enquiry by instructors; b) discussion posts which includes weekly assignments, where the instructor and the student converse about IT Related issues; and c) photos which include class attendance taken by the instructor, group work and whiteboard photos. The analysis of the results showed a strong evidence of high communication activities among the participants.

9.4 Case Study 4: Ayu and Abrizah [27] in their study examine current usage of libraries Facebook pages among Malaysian academic libraries. The methodology used was a Web content analysis of libraries websites and libraries Facebook pages. The study was trying to explore the extent of use of Facebook by academic libraries, and the kind of information delivered through the Facebook page to the participants. Twenty five academic libraries in Malaysia were included in this study. The study mainly investigated the characteristics and usage of the wall of the librarys Facebook page, and the kind of communication that was conducted between the librarian and the users through status updates, likes, comments, posted videos and photos. After this, posts posted by the library were categorized into six types and those posted by the users were categorized into four types. The categories from the librarys side included: greetings, information on library news, information on library resources, information on web resources, and requests for feedback. From the users side, the categories were: greetings, enquiry about library services, suggestions or comments, and others. The results of the study indicate that there are 14 libraries that use Facebook in Malaysia. Most of them provide basic information about the library in the Facebook page. However, only a small number of libraries fully utilize the wall by posting news, announcement, events, web resources, etc. Also, a small percentage of libraries were shown to be actively communicating with the users and responding promptly to their enquiries. Regarding the contents of wall posts, greetings was found to be the most popular type of post, followed by library news, then by library resources. The study recommends that academic libraries should exploit Facebook and other SNSs to encourage students to become more involved with their library and more aware of its services. SNS should be made an essential element of the librarys interaction with the users. However, librarians should realize the need to maintain the consistency and the timeliness of the service, since users usually expect a prompt response to their enquiries, in order to be able to fully utilize the services and guides offered to them through their library. 9.5 Case Study 5: Phillips [26] presents a content analysis of status messages posted by academic libraries on seventeen Facebook pages. The sample was drawn from different institutions

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of higher education in Illinois. The data was collected from October 17- November 5, 2010. Data collection included recording the number of fans of each Facebook page, downloading all messages appearing on each Facebook page, cleaning up the data by removing pictures and graphics, combining comments together with their original message, and coding each message in each Facebook page with an identification number. To analyze the collected data, each message together with its related comments was considered as one unit of analysis. Each unit was assigned to one or more category and given a code accordingly. A total of 439 status messages were coded of all 17 Facebook pages. The results of the content analysis were interpreted with respect to three domains: Library Domain: It was found that a significant number of messages were related to the library itself, such as the librarys services, resources, collections, events, news, etc. Student Domain: In this category, the primary focus of the message is the student. Some messages, for example, welcomed new students, congratulated graduates, offered seasonal greetings, etc. Another way of showing support to students was by posting pictures of students who attended and contributed to certain events. Community Domain: Some messages indicate how the library connected students with their institution, by posting announcements about the history, news, values, etc, that is relevant to the institution and not necessarily relevant to the library. Other messages promote events that happen in the local community and encourage students to attend them, making possible a stronger bond between students and the community where they live. The results of the study indicate that the popularity and interactivity of Facebook can help libraries create a dynamic relationship with students that may change the students perception of the library as being only used for books. This interactive relationship may encourage students to utilize librarys services and become more engaged in cultural activities within their university and in the wider community they live in.

threats, educators must follow certain guidelines for the protection of their own privacy, as well as the privacy of their students, and to avoid the risks of cyber crimes. This paper discussed the benefits of using Facebook to support classroom teaching. To start with, the instructor can create a special profile for the course, to avoid the invasion of the privacy of his/her own profile. Using this course profile, the instructor can create a group or a page that the students can join or like. Other interested parties like faculty members and previous students may also be invited to help enrich the community of the course. Announcements to certain events and links to important resources can be posted on the wall of the page. Online discussions can be initiated in the discussion board. Special interest subgroups can be created to enable teamwork in some specific tasks such as projects. Feedback and evaluation can be given using the like and comment features. Private communication amongst students or between students and the teacher can also take place though instant messaging. The opportunity of innovation in how teacher and students interact seems to be endless in the Facebook environment, giving a valuable venue for students to become more motivated and play an active role in the learning process. Students can benefit from the experience of each other and increase their knowledge in the subject matter through fruitful discussions, sharing of resources and collaboration in problem solving. On the other hand, teachers get to know more about their students and receive valuable feedback that can help them improve course contents and how different material can be delivered to students in the best possible means. The use of Facebook in libraries is yet another important track in the academic field. The library can establish a long term connection with students, and help increase their awareness of library services and resources, university news, and cultural events in their community. It is our conjecture that social networking sites will have a greater role in the academic arena in the near future. The popularity and ease of use of such networks will definitely encourage academics throughout the world to make use of the lively interaction that these networks provide. This dynamic virtual atmosphere will help bridge the gap that has long existed between teachers and their students in the traditional rigid classroom environment.

10 CONCLUSION
Social networking sites have become an integral part in many peoples lives, especially among the new generations. It has changed the way people interact, and has had a great effect in their personal, social, and political lives. The popularity of SNSs, especially Facebook, among the youth has encouraged some educators to exploit these sites to enhance teaching and learning. Although using SNSs for educational purposes still seems to be at an early stage, we think that such networks have indeed a great potential in the academic field. Nevertheless, in order to fully exploit this prospective and avoid possible cyber

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Manar I. Hosny PhD in Computer Science, Cardiff University, UK (2010), MSc in Computer Scienece, the American University in Cairo (2000); Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department, College of Computer and Information Scieneces, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; member of the review board of the HETL (Higher Education in Teaching and Learning) Journal; awarded Highest Honors Bachelor Degree from the American University in Cairo (2000), received three letters of recognition of outstanding achievement from the Saudi Cultural Attach in London (2007, 2008, 2009). Author of 18 papers in international journals and conferences; interested in heuristic and meta-heuristic optimization, bioinspired computing, and social networks in education; senior member of the International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology (IACSIT). Shameem Fatima Masters Degrees in Computer Application from Osmania University, India; a Researcher at the Information Technology Department, College of Computer and Information Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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