Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal (KM&EL), Vol 4, No 3 (2012)

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Twittering to increase student engagement in the university classroom

Bridget K. Welch, Jess Bonnan-White

Abstract


In this paper, we explored the research question: Does Twitter in a large-lecture format university course produced a difference in levels of self-reported student engagement? To do so, we utilize a quasi-experimental design testing the effect of Twitter on student engagement in introductory sociology and anthropology courses. Our hypotheses predicted that students using Twitter would report higher levels of five forms of student engagement (academic, intellectual, peer, and beyond-class engagement, along with an overall engagement variable). While peer-reviewed literature and others’ anecdotal reporting would lead us to expect a positive result, we found no significant difference in any form of engagement when Twitter was part of the course than when it was not. In fact, we found that students enrolled in the control (non-Twitter) condition perceived significantly higher levels of academic engagement then those in the experimental (used Twitter) condition. We also included a second set of hypothesis predicting that students who reported enjoying using Twitter would perceive of themselves as more engaged than those who did not enjoy Twitter. These hypotheses were supported across all forms of engagement. We report these findings and utilize comments from an open-ended questionnaire to explore potential reasons accounting for these differences and how students perceived Twitter as a classroom tool.

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Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal (KM&EL)
ISSN 2073-7904

 

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Laboratory for Knowledge Management & E-Learning

Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong