System Design for an Online Social Networking App with a Notification and Recommender System to Build Social Capital in a University Setting

AbstractSocial capital in higher education commuter institutions may be declining because fewer students remain on campus. Social capital is the network of relationships in a group. Higher social capital is derived from broader and more complex networks. Social networks can grow because members who belong to a particular group possess a sense of community. If students spend less time on campus, their sense of community may decrease, because they would be less likely to participate in the community. This puts Higher Ed commuter institutions at a disadvantage in terms of generating and maintaining social capital. We investigate the possibility to counter this disadvantage by actively promoting participating in an Online Social Network (OSN); specifically, with the use of a Notification and Recommender System (NARS) in an OSN via a mobile platform. Our results suggest that introducing a purposefully designed OSN has the potential to facilitate creation of structural and relational social capital, but that it might not have an effect on cognitive social capital.

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