A Preliminary Scoping Review Study of the Progress of Social Media Adoption as an Educational Tool by Academics in Higher Education

Eva Perez, Mairead Brady


This paper presents a preliminary scoping review exploring the evidence landscape regarding academic staff experiences and perceptions of social media adoption as an educational tool in higher education. The goal of this paper is to examine 10 empirical studies of social media adoption in teaching and learning by academics in preparation for a proposal for a systematic literature review. Consequently, this scoping study assisted in the development of a review protocol which established the inclusion and exclusion criteria for conducting this systematic review at a future date. This paper will present the first stage of carrying out a systematic review: planning the review and presenting the results of the scoping study. The findings of this scoping study revealed that academics are slow in adopting social media within teaching and academics that have adopted the use of social media do so primarily for sharing relevant information and resources easily with students rather than for teaching purposes. Overall, the adoption of social media as an educational tool is faced with many challenges, such as cultural resistance, pedagogical issues, lack of institutional support and time investment. The results also indicate that teaching styles, demographic factors, privacy issues and previous experience can influence academic staff’s decision to adopt social media for teaching purposes.


Social Media, Teaching and Learning, Higher Education

Full Text:



Anderson, L. M., Oliver, S.R., Michie, S., Rehfuess, E., Noyes, J. and Shemilt, I. (2013) ‘Investigating complexity in systematic reviews of interventions by using a spectrum of methods’, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 66 (11), pp. 1223–1229.

Borrego, M., Foster, M. J. and Froyd, J. E. (2014) ‘Systematic literature reviews in engineering education and other developing interdisciplinary fields’, Journal of Engineering Education, 103 (1), pp. 45-76.

Cao, Y., Ajjan, H. and Hong, P. (2013) ‘Using social media applications for educational outcomes in college teaching: A structural equation analysis’, British Journal of Educational Technology, 44 (4), pp. 581-593.

Evans, C. (2014), ‘Twitter for teaching: Can social media be used to enhance the process of learning?’, British Journal of Educational Technology, 45 (5), pp. 902-915

Gough, D., Oliver, S. and Thomas, J. (2017) An Introduction to Systematic Reviews. 2nd edn. [Online]. Available at: https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781473968226/cfi/6/2!/4/2/2@0:0 (Accessed: 10 July 2018).

Haines, K. (2015) ‘Learning to identify and actualize affordances in a new tool’, Language, Learning and Technology, 19 (1), pp. 165–180.

Higgins, J. and Green, S. (2008) Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Wiley.

Junco, R. , Elavsky C. M. and Heiberger, G. (2013) ‘Putting twitter to the test: Assessing outcomes for student collaboration, engagement and success’, British Journal of Educational Technology, 44 (2), pp. 273-287.

Junco, R., Heiberger, G. and Loken, E., (2011) ‘The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades’, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27 (2), pp. 119-132.

Jung, I. and Lee, Y. (2015) ‘YouTube acceptance by university educators and students: a cross-cultural perspective’, Innovations in Education & Teaching International, 52 (3), pp. 243-253.

Kaplan, A. M. and Haenlein, M. (2010) ‘Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media’, Business Horizons, 53 (1), pp. 59-68.

Manca, S. and Ranieri, M. (2016a) ‘“Yes for sharing, no for teaching!”: Social Media in academic practices’, Internet and Higher Education, 29, pp. 63-74.

Manca, S. and Ranieri, M. (2016b) ‘Facebook and the others. Potentials and obstacles of Social Media for teaching in higher education’, Computers & Education, 95, pp. 216–230.

Manca, S. and Ranieri, M. (2013) ‘Is it a tool suitable for learning? A critical review of the literature on Facebook as a technology-enhanced learning environment’, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 29 (6), pp. 487–504.

Manca, S., Ranieri, M. and Manca S., R. M. (2016c) ‘Is Facebook still a suitable technology-enhanced learning environment? An updated critical review of the literature from 2012 to 2015’, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 32 (6), pp. 503–528.

Nkhoma, M., Cong, H.P., Lam, T., Richardson, J., Smith, R. and El-Den, J. (2015) ‘Facebook as a tool for learning purposes: Analysis of the determinants leading to improved students’ learning’, Active Learning in Higher Education, 16 (2), pp. 87-101.

Petticrew, M. and Roberts, H. (2006) Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide. Blackwell.

Prescott, J. (2014) ‘Teaching style and attitudes towards Facebook as an educational tool’, Active Learning in Higher Education, 15 (2), pp. 117-128.

Rambe, P. and Nel, L. (2015) ‘Technological utopia, dystopia and ambivalence: Teaching with social media at a South African university’, British Journal of Educational Technology, 46 (3), pp. 629–648.

Scott, K. M. (2013) ‘Does a university teacher need to change e-learning beliefs and practices when using a social networking site? A longitudinal case study’, British Journal of Educational Technology, 44 (4), pp. 571–580.

Shelton, C. (2017) ‘Giving up technology and social media: why university lecturers stop using technology in teaching’, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 26 (3), pp. 303–321.

Sobaih, A.E.E., Moustafa, M.A., Ghandforoush, P. and Khan, M. (2016) ‘To use or not to use? Social media in higher education in developing countries’, Computers in Human Behavior, 58, pp. 296–305.

Tess, P. A. (2013) ‘The role of social media in higher education classes (real and virtual) - A literature review’, Computers in Human Behavior, 29 (5), pp. A60–A68.

Tranfield, D., Denyer, D. and Smart, P. (2003) ‘Towards a Methodology for Developing Evidence-Informed Management Knowledge by Means of Systematic Review, British Journal of Management, 14 (3), pp. 2017-222.

Waycott, J., Sheard, J., Thompson, C., Clerehan, R. (2013) ‘Making students’ work visible on the social web: A blessing or a curse?’, Computers & Education, 68, pp. 86–95.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22375/dbr.v2i0.29


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Eva Perez, Mairead Brady

Publisher: DBS Library