Social Media and Workplace Practices in Higher Education Institutions: a Review


  • Annalisa Manca The University of Dundee
  • Andrew Whitworth The University of Manchester


Social Media, Higher Education, Practice


This literature review investigates how the impact of social media has been studied with regard to a broad range of higher education workplace practices, that extend beyond teaching and learning, into areas such as research, administration, professional development, and the development of shared academic cultures and practices. Our interest is in whether and how the educational research community, through its research and publication practices, promotes particular views of social media in education at the expense of others. A thematic analysis of a sample of recent (2010-17) research on social media in education finds the field influenced by perspectives, particularly the managerial, that are prominent in the institutionalized discourses around which HE is structured.  These discourses are largely shaping practice in 21st century education, despite their lack of attention on how social media alter the processes of knowledge development within education, changing practice at deeper, institutional levels. We hypothesize that the implication of such research failing is that the academic community fails to reflectively and critically address how academic practices and the classroom itself are being shaped by certain “institutionalized” uses and conceptions of social media.

Author Biographies

Annalisa Manca, The University of Dundee

A medical educationalist who specializes in the use of emerging, social technologies to support healthcare education and continuing professional development.

Andrew Whitworth, The University of Manchester

Director of Teaching and Learning Strategy, Manchester Institute of Education


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