Investigating Faculty Decisions to Adopt Social Networking Sites (SNSs): The Case of Sultan Qaboos University in Oman
- Authors: Salim Said Alkindi and Mohammed Nasser Al-Suqri
The emergence of Web 2.0 and its associated technologies enables academics to operate more effectively, providing greater opportunities and helping them to achieve more goals in the education sector. Academics create knowledge and participate in Web2.0 by posting different content, allowing them to share information with each other. This study aims to address the reasons behind usage of SNSs at universities, and then pinpoint the activities that academics practice on SNSs in order to support teaching and learning. We will then explore the most popular SNSs. The study uses an online questionnaire related to the usage of SNSs by academics at the college of Art and Social Sciences at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU). The questionnaire was developed using Google docs and distributed to all faculty members at the College of Arts and Social Sciences. The main findings of this study are that 57% of academics are aware of SNS usage; 43% are not. Insufficient time and IT skills were the main reasons given for not using SNSs. Finding information and communicating with old friends were the main reasons for using them. Academics’ main SNS activities were gathering information from various sources and gaining new knowledge. Facebook, Google groups and Twitter were the most popular SNSs used. The study focused exclusively on academics at the College of Art & Social Sciences, which is considered a small community. A larger sample would possibly yield different results. The study was not intended as a comparative analysis between departments, rather it addressed specific questions. The statements regarding reasons for using/not using SNSs presented in this study are based on literature reviews and it should be noted that there may be other reasons that influence the use of SNSs. This research is vitally important for the firms that control these sites: they can add value to improve the service for academics and provide them with the required facilities. Academics are expected to be more knowledgeable in order to train their students for future work. Therefore, it is important to explore their reasons for using/not using SNSs, along with the nature of their SNS activities, and then address several related issues.