INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON EXAM MALPRACTICE TENDENCY IN NIGERIA
Background to the Study
Evidence abound of increasing incidence of examination malpractice by university undergraduates which conflicts with the core purpose of education – the training of the mind and character for the acquisition of practical and theoretical skills, knowledge and functional ideas for development; and the search for truth and knowledge and the creation and communication of ideas (Aaron, 1992, Nanna, 1997).
Examination malpractice is an illegal or unethical behaviour exhibited by students/candidates in the process of being tested on their ability or knowledge of a subject matter(s) (Ikupa, 1997). This is not a new phenomenon in Nigeria as the first incident was reported in 1914 during the senior Cambridge local examinations were the question papers leaked before the due date of the examination. It has however assumed an alarming rate of increase as the students have devised various means of evading the eagle eyes of the invigilators.
The advent and full embrace of social media, particularly whatsapp and facebook by all and sundry but more particularly by the youths who are students have further increased the sophistication and diversification of the means by which examination malpractice are carried out. Social media refers to web and mobile-based technologies which are used to turn communication into interactive dialogue among individuals, organization and communities. They are internet-mediated human communication systems that are based on the framework of web. 2.0. Web 2.0 is the software that accounts for all social interactions and exchange between and among individuals, organization and communities via the Web or internet, (Dominick 2009). The concept of social media therefore finds meaning in the ability of users to generate, interpret, restructure and disseminate content. The idea enables users to create and share experiences, information or ideas based on the pervasive technology of the internet and the World Wide Web (www).
Social media combine technologies and features (both past and evolving), to create online global environments for interaction and exchange and they have given rise to a new way of life and to essentially new voices through interpersonal communication channels. These new voices which began as innocuous interpersonal communication channels have, following increased access to the internet and other computer devices that support social networking, grown into global sites for news dissemination. Indeed, social networking sites such as facebook, twitter, you tube, and other handheld mobile applications, such as blackberry, whatsapp etc, are some of the popular web-based social media that are giving vent to previously voiceless individuals and groups who have today become strong new voices. The most popular users of these social networking platforms are the university undergraduates. This of course accounts for the use of the social networking platforms in the perpetuation and carrying out examination malpractice and vices.