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Students’ Use of Social Networking Tools for Any Purpose

How often do you use social networking tools, such as instant messaging, text messaging, MySpace and/ or Facebook, Twitte , etc., for any purpose? (This does

not include e-mail.)

Traditional-age students

Never

Multiple times per year

3% 6%

5%

Multiple times per month

Multiple times per week

22%

64%

Multiple times per day

Nontraditional-age students

Never

Multiple times per year

Multiple times per month

22%

6% 9%

22%

41%

Multiple times per day

Multiple times per week

Source: 2009 CCSSE data.

Students’ Use of Social Networking Tools To Communicate about Coursework

How often do you use social networking tools, such as instant messaging, text messaging, MySpace and/ or Facebook, Twitte , etc., to communicate with other students, instructors, or college staff about coursework

at this college? (This does not include e-mail.)

Traditional-age students

Never

27%

18%

Multiple times per day

Multiple times per year

Multiple times per month

10%

21%

24%

Multiple times per week

Nontraditional-age students

10%

Multiple times per day

16%

Never

49%

15%

Multiple times per week

Multiple times per year

10%

Multiple times per month

Source: 2009 CCSSE data.

8

2009 Findings

males currently is 38%, as compared with 58% for all full-time students. e college hopes P.R.I.D.E. will provide the connections these students need to stay in college. At the end of P.R.I.D.E.’s rst semester, 94% of participants say the mentoring program has been very important or important in helping them remain enrolled and successful.

Connections in irtual Space

Quantitative data indicate that students increasingly use social media and other virtual tools to interact. At the same time, qualitative data tell us that students value personal connections at their colleges. How should colleges reconcile these two facts? e chal- lenge is to use online and social networking tools to cultivate relationships that help students feel connected and encourage them to persist in their studies.

Building virtual communities to help students connect is both a challenge and an opportunity — a challenge to identify the best ways to use new media eectively, and an opportunity to connect with the growing number of tech-savvy students in ways they will consider both familiar and engaging.

Social Networking

Over the last ve years, CCSSE respondents have reported steady increases in use of technology — computers, the Internet, and e-mail. More important, while technology used to be the province of only younger students, the age gap is closing. In 2004, 54% of nontraditional-age students, versus 60% of traditional-age students, used the Internet or instant messaging to work on an assignment. Today, that gap has closed to one per- centage point: 65% for nontraditional-age students and 66% for traditional-age students. Similarly, the age gaps for using e-mail to communicate with an instructor and using computers in academic work have narrowed.

However, the 2009 CCSSE special-focus survey items indicate that technology-related age gaps remain for some types of technology, notably for use of newer social networking tools. Traditional-age students are more likely to use social networking tools, such as Twitter or Facebook, multiple times per day for any purpose (5% of traditional-age students versus 22% of nontraditional-age students never do so), and they are more likely to use social networking tools to communicate with other students, instructors, or college sta about coursework at the college (27% of traditional-age students versus 49% of nontraditional-age students never do so).

  • ese usage patterns also are reected in respondents’ reports about how frequently

their colleges use social networking tools to communicate about services. Forty-three percent of traditional-age students, versus 53% of nontraditional-age students, report that their colleges never do so. At the same time, more than one-quarter (28%) report that using social networking tools makes them feel somewhat more or much more connected to their college.

Making Connections: Dimensions of Student Engagement

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