Date of Award

7-17-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

George R. Bieger, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

DeAnna M. Laverick, D.Ed.

Third Advisor

Susan M. Sibert, D.Ed.

Fourth Advisor

Anne D. Creany, D.Ed.

Abstract

This study investigated college students’ Facebook use pattern, examined the relationship between their Facebook use and academic writing performance, and explored their perceptions about Facebook use and academic writing. Both quantitative and qualitative instruments were used for data collection. Among the 236 participants, 220 (93.2%) of them were Facebook users, of whom 215 responses were kept for the final analysis. It was found that first-year college students were frequent Facebook users. Although no significant correlation was identified between students’ Facebook use pattern and their overall writing performance, significant correlations were identified between several aspects of academic writing performance and of Facebook use pattern as well as students’ attitudinal scores of Facebook use. For instance, vocabulary score was positively predicted by students’ time spent on Facebook and use of it as a “daily routine” but negatively predicted by the time between Facebook checks and control of its use; using Facebook as a daily routine and using it to communicate with classmates positively predicted students’ performances in “ideas support”, “organization”, and “audience tone” in academic writing; students’ control of Facebook use was negatively correlated with the score of “focus thesis” in academic writing. Analysis of the qualitative data from the individual interviews also presented mixed results. More participants believed that the use of social networking technology affected their academic writing than those who claimed no influence. Different from the results of quantitative analysis, students’ interview responses featured more negative influences on academic writing than positive ones from the use of social networking technology. At least one third of the interview participants, who believed in no interaction between the two activities, claimed that they could maintain a clear line between writing on social networks and for academic purposes. This claim was echoed in the responses of the interviewed instructors, who believed that the negative influence from social networking engagement was not really degrading students’ academic writing.

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