University student social media use and its influence on offline engagement in higher educational communities
Previous research has emphasised social media adoption by students and the implementation of social media by educators, yet few studies have explored whether students are using it to facilitate engagement in offline environments with peers within university communities. Studies suggest engagement in educational communities and extra-curricular activities can reduce student attrition. This study surveyed 106 undergraduate students to investigate whether students using social media to interact online with their university felt: (i) connected to the broader university community, and (ii) social media helped them engage offline by meeting up with peers and attending university events. The results indicated that the majority (82%) never or rarely used the technology to facilitate offline engagement within their academic communities. Fourth year students were most likely to use social media to engage offline (66.7%). However, more than half of students (52.8%) felt that university social media profiles helped them to feel part of their academic community.