Enhancing International Students’ Engagement via Social Media – A Case Study of WeChat and Chinese Students at a UK University

Sally Sun, Martin Smith, Paul Cowley

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportConference Contribution

Abstract

International students potentially experience stress in a number of areas whilst studying in the UK; encountering a range of challenges and adjustment issues. This research found that WeChat (a Chinese social media app) has helped Chinese students to address key communication barriers and study challenges within their university experience. This has led to an increase in their motivation in undertaking learning activities; as well as impacting on issues of engagement, performance and retention. Focus groups were conducted with Chinese students ranging from year two undergraduate to postgraduate level. Questionnaires were used to collect data in order to evaluate the influencing factors of the students’ engagement and motivation when WeChat is deployed. Results show that social media can facilitate lecturers to achieve student-centred pedagogy within the blended e-learning environment. Moreover, effectiveness factors regarding the use of social media within higher education are identified to support the development of curriculum design and communication methods. The study seeks to make suggestions regarding the implementation of social media for international students within higher education according to the needs, education settings and cultural backgrounds of the “always on” generation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationINTED2017 Proceedings
PublisherInternational Association for Technology, Education and Development (IATED)
Pages7047-7057
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)978-84-617-8491-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event11th Annual International Technology, Education and Development Conference -
Duration: 6 Mar 20178 Mar 2018

Conference

Conference11th Annual International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Period6/03/178/03/18

Keywords

  • international students
  • social media
  • student support
  • engagement
  • retention

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  • Cite this

    Sun, S., Smith, M., & Cowley, P. (2017). Enhancing International Students’ Engagement via Social Media – A Case Study of WeChat and Chinese Students at a UK University. In INTED2017 Proceedings (pp. 7047-7057). International Association for Technology, Education and Development (IATED). https://doi.org/10.21125/inted.2017.1633