Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

John I. Liontas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Janet Richards, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sanghoon Park, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Phil Smith, Ph.D.


higher education, language education, qualitative study, social media, technology


Technology has changed the way we communicate, teach, and learn. Today’s generation of college students has never known what it is like to be without a cell phone or a computer. Social media is an integral part of their lives. As technology evolves, so do students’ expectations for a learning experience. This experience goes beyond the traditional classroom boundaries’ constrains. Understanding how to take advantage of the pedagogical potential of new technologies is therefore essential for language educators. Broadly speaking, there is much discussion about the integration of social media in language education. However, little is known about how these technologies may work in the language classroom. While many studies focus on the pedagogical benefits, few studies have explored the experiences of language educators who use social media to enhance and transform the traditional learning environment. Thus, the purpose of this qualitative exploratory case study was to explore language educators’ perspectives on their use of social media for pedagogical purposes. To gain a better understanding of language educators’ experiences in the use of social media, I interviewed a language educator at a large, public, research university, located in the Southeast of the United States. The primary data sources for this qualitative study consists of a semi-structured survey questionnaire, face-to-face, semi-structured interviews, and a researcher reflective journal. Throughout the study, I analyzed the data to build on the respondents’ comments. To ensure the trustworthiness of the study, I employed several techniques, including data triangulation, peer debriefing, member checking, reflexive journaling, and creating an audit trail. Study findings reveal that participants perceived social media as an instructional medium to blend informal learning into formal learning online, face-to-face, and blended environments, to facilitate a participatory culture, and to provide opportunities for students’ self-expression, self-reflection, and social interaction. Based on the findings, I offer recommendations for instructors, instructional designers, and policy developers. Finally, I address possible future research directions.

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