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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

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Snapchat: Bridging the Communication Chasm in Online Courses

Jon Ernstberger (LaGrange College, USA)
Melissa A. Venable (OnlineColleges.net, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 3:45pm
Technology and Emerging Learning Environments
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Oceanic 4
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 4

Snapchat users communicate with more natural interactions via networked devices. Learn why this tool could influence the future of online higher education.

Extended Abstract

Description and Goals
Snapchat is a social media tool used to disseminate annotated stills or short video clips, both known as ÒSnapsÓ, to other users of the service. These snaps are recorded with a basic app and are asynchronous, offering a new approach for using video, which differs from more fully-featured synchronous tools such as Blackboard Collaborate and Skype. As a testimony to its potential, Snapchat has experienced such prodigious growth among college students [1] that Facebook offered to purchase it for three billion dollars. [2]

Inherent to the platform is the inability to view Snaps after a brief viewing window expires. Consequently, Snapchat exploded onto the social media scene with teens as early adopters (now college students) because tawdry communique were believed to be instantly deleted [3]. Now Snapchat flourishes because of the proliferation of video recording technology found on smartphones and tablets, its transmission of body language, and production enhancements built into the app. There are no hashtags or built-in marketing tools and only desired contactsÕ Snaps must be seen. Consequently, Snapchat is a manicured and non-intrusive communication experience that is rapidly gaining ground on services like Instagram [4].

In contrast, the LMS (the current online learning tool of choice) is an incredibly safe and robust environment but there are few LMS-native tools as easily used as Snapchat or as capable of creating such natural communication. Snapchat, or a tool like it, seems ideal for bridging the communication gap to online learners--a group often left feeling unsatisfied with their experiences connecting with instructors and peers [5].

Participants should expect a demonstration of Snapchat and suggestions for classroom usage, a survey of how other institutions are using Snapchat, commentary on the pros/cons of its use at the university level, and exploration of tools that might evolve from Snapchat for educational purposes.

Plans for Interaction:
-Guests will participate in a guided conversations about how Snapchat could be used.
-Participants will have the opportunity to build a Snapchat network
-All will be asked to exchange roles as instructors and students to make use of this tool given specific examples.

Learning Objectives:
-Participants will learn about the emerging tool of Snapchat.
-Participants will learn to use Snapchat for personal networking.
-Participants will learn to use Snapchat for educational purposes.

[1] Study Finds 77% of College Students Use Snapchat Daily http://mashable.com/2014/02/24/snapchat-study-college-students/
[2] Facebook Tried To Buy Snapchat For $3B In Cash. Here's Why.
[3] Snapchat Grows Up: How College Officials Are Using the App
[4] Photo and Video Sharing Grow Online
[5] What Online Students Want Compared to What Institutions Expect