Friday, July 15, 2011

Bl g e r's B war : G v ng On y H lf of th St ry

Recently I saw a link on LinkedIn sharing a blog by Dr. Rey Junco, who blogs about college students' use of technology and its impact on their experience and performance.  This particular blog entry highlighted 2007 data from the Higher Education Research Institute and a much smaller 2008 study by Heiberger and Harper.

Junco highlighted that students who reported higher levels of social media use also reported higher levels of involvement in student clubs and organizations.  Comments on his blog were generally favorable with a few asking critical questions about "how is student involvement defined" and "selection bias."  Others though were seemingly blindly accepting; one such response was, "I Love this chart! it is a great way to show non SM users what a positive effect SM can have on student engagement."

Junco did provide links to the sources, and it's clear not all of the commentators viewed the sources; however Junco only shared part of story (as did Heiberger and Harper as well).  There's more, and it's important.

The HERI study also showed that students who reported higher levels of social media use also reported higher levels of partying and greater frequency and amount regarding their drinking habits.  On top of that, they reported greater difficulty managing their time and developing effective study habits.

This is why it is important to try and view the whole picture.  If we were to look at just the involvement data, we would naturally conclude that social media use is correlated with positive student behaviors and possibly act in ways to increase use of social media (disregarding that correlation is not causation).  However, if you look at the broader picture, social media use is also correlated with undesirable behaviors that would lead us to respond more cautiously and thoughtfully.  Any information related to student involvement has to include its relationship to academic performance, for if a student who is thoroughly engaged is unable to study and learn effectively to maintain sufficient grades, their involvement has cost them dearly and we have done them a disservice.

1 comment:

  1. Found this via the ACUHO-I LinkedIn group...enjoyed reading your perspective. Cheers!