A severe issue I’ve located within social media use amongst students is that its disproportionate use builds a huge barrier between the Domestic and International students.
Chen and Ross (2015) saw Chinese students as ‘meak, quiet or standoffish’ and this is hugely due to the space provided by the online community they find on their mobile phones. Their constant need for instant communication also creates friction when response expectations are not met – it is a poor substitute for real world interactions [Robertson, cited in Hall and Sivakumaran, 2014].
Furthermore, other studies reported findings that International students maintained relationships among like-people (Lee & Ranta, 2014; Olding, 2013) and this was even bigger of a problem when students preferred to use platforms they were using back home, rather than learn and embrace the platforms that were trending in their host countries (Saw et al., 2012; Chang, Alzougool, Gomes, Berry, Smith & Reeders, 2012). To add on to this, according to Saw et al. (2013), ‘international students were (using) it to build new relationships with students of the same ethnicity.’
But too abundant was the research on the use of social media solely upon International students, for educational and socio-cultural purposes, and not enough comparisonal analysis were made.
- How is social media use different from International students as compared to Domestic students?
- How does it impact the relationship of the two in social situations and in the classroom?
When do they use it the most? Where are they most likely to be online? How do they use their social media?
My ethnographic approach:
I am very fortunate to be able to live on campus, Bangalay, as it gives me direct access to a lofty amount of approachable International students. The environment is also very different to the classroom as many people are often encouraged to socialise and I’ll use this opportunity to point out the differences between the two sceneries. Additionally, I will be able to talk to International students about their social media use in the classroom, at home or in social situations. I’ll contrast and analyse the results I have found with a similar discussion amongst domestic students.
I intend to embrace the concept of asking International students what they regard as issues within social media use amongst their community for further investigation. I chose to do this because ‘informants can identify urgent research more clearly than the ethnographer’ [Spradley, cited in Lassiter, 2005].
I’d take into consideration the grey area between offline and online worlds that are constantly decreasing due to technological improvements, [Garcia, et al 2009] and approach new world ideas through keeping to updated sources and millennial relevance. [Lange, 2010]
This ethnography practise will embody the Journalistic MEA code of ethics as participants’ permission will be vital and the’ll be informed about the research purpose beforehand. I will remind them that if they wish to step out, they are allowed to and that all raw data will be erased after submission of the task. I’ll avoid sensitive topics and keep in mind the individuality/differences of each participant.
Data found, stories heard, and the conclusion of possible positive will be recounted through a documentary-like video presentation that will include many illustrations/examples and a narration.
Garcia, A., Standlee, A., Bechkoff, J. and Yan Cui (2009). Ethnographic Approaches to the Internet and Computer-Mediated Communication. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 38(1), pp.52-84
Lange, D. (2010). Mc Vay Media Rocks. [online] Mcvaymediarocks.blogspot.com. Available at: http://mcvaymediarocks.blogspot.com/2010_05_01_archive.html [Accessed 27 Sep. 2018].
Lassiter, L. (2005). Defining Collaborative Ethnography, an excerpt from The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography. [online] Press.uchicago.edu. Available at: https://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/468909.html [Accessed 27 Sep. 2018].