From the pigeon’s coo to Twitter’s tweet: An overview of communication messages through Online Social Networks (OSNs) in Open Distance Learning (ODL) with a special focus on Facebook
The unprecedented rise of online social networks (OSNs) has completely erased the notion of pigeon as conveyors of messages which was widespread 2000 years ago. Indeed, the history of communication and its evolution have brought about tremendous progress. All spheres of public life have been affected in one way or another by this surge of online technologies and wireless devices. Handheld devices are becoming increasingly common and electronic tablets are available for less than USD 100. Open Distance Learning (ODL) institutions are quickly matching up with the innovations on the market to open up access to higher education. All course materials are available in some form of digital format either in PDF versions or in the form of videos on “YouTube”. The main activities of universities are showcased on Facebook and important messages sent via Twitter. This has certainly radically transformed the face of ODL from a remotely-based study centre to a dynamic and interactive interface. This paper focuses on an exploratory study on the use of OSNs especially Facebook among a certain number of universities in the world. The sample consists of a number of university websites of the world and their integrated use of Facebook as a communication tool. The results show that Universities are increasingly using online social media to communicate registration dates, semester time-tables and on-campus activities. This simultaneous and quasi-spontaneous communication allows students to express their concerns and get information quickly allowing them to save time browsing through the whole university website. However, the sheer vastness of queries remains a challenge as tackling them resembles a Herculean task as messages range from simple demands for fees to explicit information about how to proceed for job interviews. // Paper ID: 174
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