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Darci J. Harland


Social media has been used as an instructional tool for authentic learning in order to enable adaptability through experimentation and action rather than passive listening and regurgitation. The problem addressed in this study is that it is not known how English composition students’ perceptions of authentic learning are impacted by the use of online social media as instructional tools. Authentic learning is characterized by multiple elements, including collaboration, reflection, and communication. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine the perceptions of undergraduate 1st year freshmen composition students using social media as instructional tools, across 9 elements of authentic learning. Bandura’s social cognitive theory and Siemens’ theory of connectivism guided this research study:. Research questions were used to examine the relationship that exist across undergraduate freshman composition students' perceptions using social media (i.e., Facebook and Twitter) as instructional tools of the 9 elements of authentic learning. A previously validated survey instrument aligned to Herrington and Oliver’s authentic learning framework was used to collect data from 50 students and then analyzed using a Pearson product correlation. Data showed multiple statistical significances and revealed that students perceived that social media provided them opportunities to collaborate, reflect, and articulate authentically when it was used as an instructional tool. The results from this study may contribute to social change by providing insight into whether or not universities should support faculty who want to use social media as an authentic learning strategy with college students.

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