Communication Function of Social Networks in Media Education: The Case of Georgia
Authors: Mariam Gersamia, Maia Toradze.
published in Athens Journal of Mass Media and Communications, Volume 3, Issue 3, Pages 195-206
Technology has a significant role in today's educational process, especially online Social Networks which facilitate communication between professors and students. This current study seeks to analyze the role of Facebook closed groups that are created specifically for educational purposes, as well as the impact they have on developing competency-based education (communication skills in particular) and to answer questions such as: what are the educational benefits of teaching methods adapted for digital audiences and how a digital audience develops in terms of competency-based education. The study was conducted in Georgia, which is a Post-Soviet Republic undergoing rapid democratic development while having the best indicators in terms of the South Caucasus Media Sustainability Index (IREX, 2016). According to a Freedom House country report (Cecire, 2016), the country's scope of democracy is 4.61 (with a transitional government and hybrid regime). Journalism and mass communication teaching courses at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University were focus points for our research observation. The study has confirmed that by using new technologies with physical and cyber audiences (by implementing online social networking tools) it is possible to develop various competencies and to successfully achieve learning goals. Utilizing new technologies in the teaching process is also very effective for enhancing communication skills. Furthermore, an open platform based on online Social Networks (even through closed groups) can stimulate the democratization of the educational system in young democracies, such as Georgiain general. Students and professors express themselves more naturally in such an open platform-closed groups (which might seem more appropriate for societies in transitions).