Vol. 8 No.2 (2023)

The extent of social media usage for exchanging knowledge by higher education students in Tanzania

Jaffar Msafiri Ponera
Moshi Co-operative University (MoCU), Tanzania
jaffar.ponera@mocu.ac.tz

Shadrack Stephen Madila
Moshi Co-operative University (MoCU), Tanzania
shadmdd@gmail.com

Abstract

Rationale of Study – This study investigated the extent of social media usage for exchanging knowledge by higher education students in Tanzania because, during the COVID-19 outbreak, Tanzania witnessed the closure of various higher education institutions due to a lack of dependable online learning platforms.

Methodology – A mixed-methods approach with a convergent research design was used in this study. Parallel mixed-methods sampling was used to select a sample of 239 out of 633 postgraduate students from the four selected higher education institutions in northern Tanzania. Interviews were conducted with eight heads of academic departments at the HEI. The quantitative data was descriptively analysed with SPSS version 24, and the results were presented as tables, frequencies, and percentages. Qualitative data were submitted to thematic analysis using Atlas.ti version 7 based on the emerging themes.

Findings – The findings established that education (classmates) and WhatsApp were postgraduate students' most commonly used social media. They also perceived social media as applicable and developed positive attitudes towards it because of the advantages it offered them in academics. The study further found the frequent use of social media by postgraduate students.

Implications – The study recommended that the management of HEIs ensure the availability of reliable Internet to facilitate knowledge-sharing activities and offer training on the ethical use of such platforms.

Originality – This is a component of a larger PhD study submitted to the University of South Africa (UNISA), contributing to the existing body of knowledge.

Keywords

Social media usage, higher education institutions, knowledge exchange, Postgraduate students, Tanzania