This research aims to compare the preference of social media sites and institutional communication channels of a higher education institution by confronting elements that form perceived usefulness and user satisfaction with the system. Social media technologies are a part of the routine of the modern society in many diverse ways, including the support and even substitution of software designed specifically for knowledge acquisition and sharing. If students do not see value in the use of virtual learning environments and learning platforms, such tools might be prone to obsolescence as well.
The study was applied in a Brazilian public university located in a major city near São Paulo. The paper shows the results of the analysis of a survey with 108 answers, testing a model based on the information system success and on the technology acceptance model. The perceived usefulness of information technology is also subject to test through a Student t-test.
The paper shows that students perceive more value when using social media technologies to perform academic activities than in information systems provided by the university, mainly owing to the ease of use of the former. Service quality does not present a strong role as an antecedent variable in any case.
Students do not expect or do not see value in technical support during their general experience or usefulness for any of the analysed technologies. Thus, higher education institutions should focus their initiatives in providing availability, information quality and usability for institutional channels or, if they choose to do so, social media sites as well.
This study contributes to educational institutions by attaining better use of available IT tools for academic purposes. Previous studies looked for monitored or institutionalized use of social media tools in an educational context, but there was no in-depth analysis of spontaneous use by students to perform academic tasks.
Sumida Garcia, L. and Costa Silva, C. (2017), "Differences between perceived usefulness of social media and institutional channels by undergraduate students", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 196-215. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITSE-01-2017-0009Download as .RIS
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