Asee peer logo

Can We Make Students Lifelong Learners Through Social Networks?

Download Paper |


2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Social Media and In-class Technology: Creating Active Learning Environments

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.280.1 - 25.280.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Gonca Altuger-Genc University of Massachusetts, Lowell

visit author page

Gonca Altuger-Genc is a full-time faculty member in the Plastics Engineering Department at UMass, Lowell.

visit author page


Yegin Genc Stevens Institute of Technology

visit author page

Yegin Genc is a Ph.D. candidate at Stevens Institute of Technology.

visit author page

Download Paper |


CAN WE MAKE STUDENTS LIFELONG LEARNERS THROUGH SOCIAL NETWORKS?Technological advances continually improve the efficiency and effectiveness of highereducation. These technological advances can be divided into two groups: the first group istechnology dedicated to education (ex. Smart boards, online campuses, blackboards); and thesecond group involves technologies that are more generic but can be applicable to educationalpurposes (email, online bookstores etc.). The advantage of targeted technologies is that they arecustom fit solutions to the problems of education therefore their effectiveness are evident.However these technologies are limited in their lifetime to the period of formal education.Generic technologies tend be adopted due their efficiencies that are more abstract but theyremain to be available even after formal education is over. Therefore in one hand the benefits oftargeted technology is undeniable on the other hand lifelong learning can only leverage thegeneric technology. We believe generic technologies should replace the targeted technologiesfor the sake of lifelong learning where their effectiveness meet the ones of targeted technologies.We believe social networking tools are good candidates for replacing education specificcollaboration tools such as blackboard message boardsThe Accreditation Board for Engineering Education and Technology (ABET) criteria require thatengineering programs demonstrate that their students attain “a recognition of the need for, andan ability to engage in lifelong learning”. Even though online environments provide great dealof accessibility to the students throughout their education, students lose their access to theseenvironments after their formal education is over. Without any doubt, use of the dedicatedtechnology cannot be extended to after the formal education when learning still continues. Onthe other hand, more generic technologies can remain to be the means of the learning processafter the formal education. We believe social networking tools can be used as the medium forcollaboration in education. This way they can remain as tools for self directed even after thecompletion of formal education. Over the last few years schools started to utilize social networksthrough LinkedIn groups or Facebook pages to reach out to their students and alumni. The ideabehind this initiative is to mainly create a network where all students, staff, faculty and alumniare connected and are informed about school’s news. Higher number of participants on schoolsocial environments proved that these environments can reach to masses. However theseapplications are more targeted towards directed searches (finding the right guy), networking andraising awareness purposes. Our aim is to leverage social networks for the collaboration needs offormal education to set the grounds for lifelong learning. We expect students to use theseplatforms even after their formal education is over.This paper aims to look into implementation of social networks in engineering education whilecomparing how dedicated (blackboard) and generic (social networks) technological platformshandle lifelong learning. This paper will focus on a senior year engineering course students’utilization process of discussion boards in dedicated and generic technological platforms,alongside their challenges, response and overall reaction to social network based learningplatforms.

Altuger-Genc, G., & Genc, Y. (2012, June), Can We Make Students Lifelong Learners Through Social Networks? Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21038

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015