Social media as a tool for developing learning spaces of city universities around the world

Elena Petriaeva (Russia), Daria Milyaeva (Russia), Deirdre Wynter (Ireland), Natalia Ageeva (Russia)

In the context of the digital transformation of education, this study focuses on the analysis of social media as an efficient tool for developing learning spaces of universities. The goal of this study is to explore the use of Instagram by city universities, highlight the existing trends, and determine best practices and high-potential directions of online development for universities. The evidence base of this study included the Instagram accounts of six city universities of the world, specifically: the Moscow City University, the Dublin City University, the University of Taipei, the City, University of London, the City University of New York, and the City University of Hong Kong. The research was conducted using the method of content analysis with the use of Google Data Studio services. The analysis uncovered the following topic-based groups of content featured in the Instagram accounts of city universities: Personalities, University, Applicants, Learning and career, Science and technologies, City, Society and politics, Art, and Atmosphere. Subsequently, four high-potential directions of online development were identified for universities: first, more active user engagement and support; second, development of new forms of teaching and learning activities; third, popularisation of research; fourth, branding the university as a partner of the city. The novel contribution of this paper consists in engaging modern analytical tools to visualize a university profile from its published online content. The findings can be used by universities as recommendations on developing and adjusting their content strategies to adapt to the ever-changing realities and ensure effective online promotion and realization of their teaching potential.