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Comparing the extent and pattern of use of social networking sites by medical and non medical university students: a multi-center study

Authors Guraya SY, Al-Qahtani MF, Bilal B, Guraya SS, Almaramhy H

Received 15 February 2019

Accepted for publication 9 July 2019

Published 29 July 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 575—584


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Mei-chun Cheung

Salman Yousuf Guraya,1 Mona Faisal Al-Qahtani,2 B Bilal,3 Shaista Salman Guraya,4 Hamdi Almaramhy5

1Surgery Unit, Clinical Sciences Department, College of Medicine, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE; 2Department of Public Health, College of Public Health, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia; 3School of Accountancy, Hubei University of Economics, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China; 4Medical Education Unit, College of Medicine, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; 5Pediatric Surgery, College of Medicine, Taibah University Almadinah Almunawwarah, Medina, Saudi Arabia

Objectives: Although use of social networking sites (SNSs) for fun and leisure is escalating, educational use of SNSs by students is low. Furthermore, there is a scarcity of data about the use of SNSs by students from different faculties. This study compared patterns and extent of use of SNSs among medical and nonmedical university students.
Methods: A 21-statement questionnaire was administered to the students of medical colleges of two Saudi universities and nonmedical students of two Chinese universities. Demographic data, nature of SNSs, and strategies used for sharing knowledge were collected and analyzed.
Results: Of 2,350 respondents, 92% used SNSs for various reasons. Overall, 624 (26.6%) students used SNSs for education and found these sites to be useful (P=0). Educational use of SNSs was significantly higher in medical than nonmedical students (P=0). However, nonmedical students found SNSs more useful for social connections than medical students, with mean rankings of 1,328 and 978, respectively. WhatsApp use was significantly greater among medical students, while WeChat was more popular with nonmedical students (P=0).
Conclusion: This study reports low use of SNSs for education by university students. For sharing knowledge, WhatsApp was more popular among medical students and WeChat for nonmedical students. This research demands educational reforms that can uniformly embed the use of social media in teaching and learning pedagogies across disciplines.

Keywords: social networking sites, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, WeChat, education
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