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The academic use of social media in distance education and its relation to the reduction of the feeling of isolation

Sociology International Journal
<font face="Arial, Verdana"><span style="font-size: 13.3333px;">Nikolitsa Koutsogiannopoulou,<sup>1 </sup>Evangelia Manousou<sup>2</sup>&nbsp;</span></font>

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Academic use of social media has become an important component of the educational process of distance learning. The present study investigates the educational use of social media in distance education and the factors leading to it, in order to determine the impact of this use on reducing the feeling of isolation experienced by the students of the Hellenic Open University (HOU). The behavioral intention for use and the actual use of social media in the context of distance education are investigated, taking into account the factors of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). The sample consisted of 147 undergraduate and postgraduate students of HOU. The data collection tool was an improvised questionnaire structured in 4 axes, with 18 closed-ended questions. The results obtained show that the majority of students strongly supports and utilizes social media for educational purposes. The results also indicate that the more students consider social media useful in the context of their studies, the more they intend to use them and ultimately the more intensively they do use them. The finding that the educational use of social media is positively related to the stimulation of the HOU students’ feeling of isolation is important. It highlights the fact that social media are useful and supportive tools in the context of distance education. The f indings of this study are in agreement with previous relevant studies and provide helpful guidance for future research. 


distance education, social media, academic use, feeling of isolation, TAM Technology Acceptance Model, Hellenic Open Universtiy (HOU)