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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Facebook and public debate: an informal learning tool for the youth
Author:Hyde-Clarke, NathalieISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Media Studies (ISSN 1751-7974)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:social media
teaching methods
higher education
political consciousness
External link:https://doi.org/10.1386/jams.5.2.131_1
Abstract:The purpose of this article is to introduce and assess the effectiveness of Facebook as an informal learning tool in a postgraduate Communication Studies course, and whether it may be used to facilitate greater public debate around the role of the media and democracy in South Africa. A group of postgraduate students at the University of Johannesburg were encouraged to engage in online discussions using Media Works, a Facebook group designed by Media Monitoring Africa. The duration of the assignment was six weeks and was run from 13 August to 21 September 2012. Each week new topics related to the role of the media in society were identified for discussion. Although all were familiar with Facebook, students adopted a more academic approach and thereby unintentionally worked contrary to the more informal conversational mechanisms associated with this social network site. This article considers the comments posted during this period and the students' perceptions of the experience, and thus explores the potential offered and challenges posed by using Facebook as an informal learning tool to encourage public debate at the postgraduate level. Bibliogr., note, sum. [Journal abstract]