Friday, May 18, 2012

Use of Social Media for Study Abroad

Greetings fellow lifelong learners. For my doctoral class, EM820 Business Strategies for Social Media, I chose to explore the topic of how social media is used in study abroad programs. At CTU's recent Symposium, my professor, Dr. Anne Marie Armstrong and several students shared their experiences from a week-long, action research trip to Nicaragua. The stories were vivid contrasting everyday differences of living, working, and learning. While reliable electricity and plumbing were not a given, everyone had smart cell phones and enjoyed good telecommunications service. CTU plans to continue the research-service program to enable more students to participate. I wonder how social media can enable greater engagement.
Barbara using her computer at the April 2012 Symposium for CTU in Colorado Springs
Symposium April 2012

At my institution, the University of Central Florida, I learned that there are approximately 400 students involved involved with the International Studies Office who are engaged in study abroad. Nationally there are only about 2% of students who take advantage of study abroad programs, although many more wish they could. Cost is the primary barrier to participate.
What role can social media play in study abroad? When does social media enhance the study abroad experience and when does it hinder it? Which personnel and training are required to integrate social media into study abroad programs. How can costs become valued investments? At UCF, I hope to help apply what I learn as these questions are answered.

Can you relate to dreaming of study abroad? If you have had an experience learning abroad, chances are it was life changing. Upon investigation, several professional associations and corporate options exist to help learners hone in on their targeted programs. The University of Michigan provides this exceptional site with links to several associations and references to help guide learners to make informed choices to prepare.

NAFSA, the association of international educators, had a Task Force that released a report in 2008. This press release describes the recommendations the report makes called Strengthening Study Abroad: Recommendations for Effective Institutional Management. Four key areas are addressed:institutional commitment; infrastructure; resources; and clarity and accountability. More detail will follow for how my research reveals that social media can support topics within these areas.

1 comment:

  1. Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life...

    Study Abroad