Spring Finals Edition Technology

Using social media to study

Surveys show social media sites have a growing role in college students’ studying habits. | Joshua Mann

Surveys show social media sites have a growing role in college students’ studying habits. | Joshua Mann

With finals looming overhead, some sometimes find it necessary to close themselves off from the Internet in order to get any real studying done.

Some students announce to their 300-plus friends that they’re leaving Facebook for a week, and others have close friends change their passwords so that they’re not tempted to give in to the social media seduction.

“I find that social media normally impedes me from being able to prepare for finals. Normally, the only thing productive I ever get out of it is getting hold of people for due dates or when finals are. Otherwise, I find it to be distracting,” said creative writing senior Douglas Knudsen. “I’m old school, though.”

Knudsen isn’t exactly old school, but in a few years, his way of thinking may become obsolete.

A survey released in February 2012 and conducted by Western Oregon University’s dean of Library and Media Services, Allen W. McKiel, Ph.D., suggests that four in 10 students use social media for study purposes. Seven in 10 students are either very likely (22 percent) or somewhat likely (47.2 percent) to use social networking sites as a medium to connect with other students and classmates about academic interest.

“Social media helps me stay in contact with people who are in my classes, and I can utilize it to organize study groups. I can also use the chat systems to discuss problems,” said biochemistry junior Nina Lopez.

In this survey, slightly less than 60 percent of students share research information with their peers through social media sites.

Among that 60 percent is Ryan Foley, hotel and restaurant management freshman, who said, “(Social media is) also convenient for students to be able to post class relevant material for others to take notes on or have class-relevant discussions via private messages or discussion threads.”

Students who use social media as a tool for organizing study groups and online study sessions are on the rise; but they are 54.7 percent less likely to contact people of authority, such as professors or teaching assistants through these social networks.

“Email totally works better and is more professional,” Knudsen said.

Despite students utilizing social media as a form of studying, others use it to help them cope with finals in other ways as well.

“Social media is able to keep me from stressing out too much by providing an outlet for entertainment,” Foley said.

Students like chemical engineering junior Ramon Marquez feel like this is the main way social media sites help with the stress that finals week provides.

“I use social media as a way to help me relax if I start succumbing to the stresses that come along with finals,” Marquez said.

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