International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education
The lack of effective faculty-student interaction has been identified as a main contributor to the high dropout rate in online education. For this paper, the authors conducted an empirical study using a social networking tool, specifically Facebook, to improve student-instructor communication and student performance in an online learning environment. They recruited three sections of an introductory IT course at a public university and divided them into two groups: (1) a treatment group where Facebook was used as an additional communication tool and (2) a control group where the course setting wasn't changed. The authors surveyed the participants' opinions on the use of Facebook in the treatment group, and collected participants' academic performance data for both the treatment and control groups. Their research findings show that the use of Facebook as a supplemental communication method can help an instructor better reach out to students, reduce a course's failure rate, and improve student course performance.
Guo, R., Shen, Y., & Li, L. (2018). Using Social Media to Improve Student-Instructor Communication in an Online Learning Environment. International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education, 14(1), 33-43.