Higher Education and the Social Media Technology: A Dilemma Unfolding in Institutions of Higher Learning
Edmore Mutekwe

In this paper I unravel the technological dilemma that some higher education (HE) employees particularly lecturers are grappling with following the advent of the social media technology. It is no secret that quite a number of senior HE staff (e.g. University and College lecturers) especially those who were educated during the type-writer era have up to now not mastered how to use a basic computer, with jokes flying around that some cannot even move a computer mouse properly. Others still wonder what Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are all about. This study sought to establish not only the receptive levels of HE lecturers in using the social media technology but also their perceptions towards integrating it in the classroom and in their general everyday life interactions. The data for this study were collected through individual interviews with 20 purposively sampled HE lecturers from 4 South African HE institutions. The analysis of the data followed a thematic approach and the study revealed that while a quite a good number of the younger HE lecturers have embraced social media technology as part of their modern day social and professional life, there exists a high level of resistance to this new technology from the old guard and this resistance is not only confined to its use in the HE sector, but also in their everyday social life. Since many HE institutions in South Africa are now seized with the intriguing challenge of promoting technology in enhancing knowledge creation, the study recommends that the responsible HE authorities impress upon all levels of HE employees that generally the new media technology and the social media in particular have (finally) arrived to transform not only the educational landscape but also other spheres of society (such as the political, social and economic) and therefore embracing it has become an imperative for this educational era.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jehd.v4n3a13