Project Title

What Really Happens in GroupMe: Students’ Use of Instant Messaging in Higher Education

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - Psychological Science

Faculty Sponsor Name

Jennifer Willard

Abstract (300 words maximum)

College students use instant messaging applications, such as GroupMe, to facilitate communication with their peers (Carpenter & Green, 2107). Researchers have suggested that instructor-facilitated use of instant messaging may positively impact learning and create social connection among students (e.g., Tang & Hew, 2019). However, in practice, GroupMe conversations can be created and maintained by students without instructor participation, and sometimes without instructor knowledge. What occurs in these conservations and how its’ use impacts student learning is unclear. Thus, the purpose of this project is to address this gap in knowledge by collecting information from students about their higher education experiences with this app. KSU students will be recruited from across campus to participate in focus group discussions consisting of 3-6 students. Focus groups will be conducted in-person and online. Data will be analyzed using thematic analysis in order to identify students’ motivations for using GroupMe, identify potential benefits and drawbacks associated with GroupMe use, and explore students’ perceptions regarding the potential impact GroupMe has on student learning experiences and relationships. This information may be useful to both students and instructors in developing best practices for students’ use of GroupMe in higher education.

Disciplines

Social Psychology

Project Type

Poster

How will this be presented?

Yes, in person

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What Really Happens in GroupMe: Students’ Use of Instant Messaging in Higher Education

College students use instant messaging applications, such as GroupMe, to facilitate communication with their peers (Carpenter & Green, 2107). Researchers have suggested that instructor-facilitated use of instant messaging may positively impact learning and create social connection among students (e.g., Tang & Hew, 2019). However, in practice, GroupMe conversations can be created and maintained by students without instructor participation, and sometimes without instructor knowledge. What occurs in these conservations and how its’ use impacts student learning is unclear. Thus, the purpose of this project is to address this gap in knowledge by collecting information from students about their higher education experiences with this app. KSU students will be recruited from across campus to participate in focus group discussions consisting of 3-6 students. Focus groups will be conducted in-person and online. Data will be analyzed using thematic analysis in order to identify students’ motivations for using GroupMe, identify potential benefits and drawbacks associated with GroupMe use, and explore students’ perceptions regarding the potential impact GroupMe has on student learning experiences and relationships. This information may be useful to both students and instructors in developing best practices for students’ use of GroupMe in higher education.

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