The Relationship between Class Size and Active Twitter Participation in the Engineering Classroom Devin R. Berg Engineering & Technology Department University of Wisconsin – Stout 15 June 2015 Twitter: @devinberg, #ASEEAnnual, #M439
Prior Results An initial pilot study established a baseline for student participation in an inquiry-based assignment. • Learned of the need for incentive to participate. • Also, the benefits of having a few active students to drive the rest of the class. [See: PDF]
Prior Results Subsequent use of Twitter assignments revealed more. • A smaller cohort seemed to result in greater difficulty with getting students to participate actively. • The use of Twitter (rather than a LMS) worked well for real-time interaction but resulted in less detailed student analysis. [See: PDF]
Evaluate the effect of cohort size on active participation. Hypothesis: A larger cohort will increase course participation through a sense of anonymity and by increasing the odds of the class containing active participants who drive the discussion.
Basic instructions were given as a guide but were open to interpretation. Create one original Twitter post per week (photo/video + text) giving an example of something that demonstrates the concepts discussed in that week’s classes. Also submit at least two comments in response to the posts of your classmates.
Assessment Methodology • Students were quantitatively evaluated using the Concept Assessment Tool for Statics and the Dynamics Concept Inventory. • A self-efficacy survey was used to qualitatively evaluate student participation and outcomes.
Self Efficacy Survey • How would you rate your ability to identify statics and dynamics principles in your surroundings? • How prepared are you to discuss engineering mechanics with others? • How do you see yourself fitting within the greater engineering community? • During the semester, how much have you discussed the course material outside of class? • How would you describe your participation in the class Twitter discussions?
The initial hypothesis proved to be false. The larger class-size did not result in significantly greater participation or course performance. While previous experience suggests that a few active students can drive class participation, the larger cohort did not guarantee that outcome.
Other means are necessary to drive out-of-class discussions. Reduce reliance on Twitter by opening up to other forms of public engagement. Use a teaching assistant or former student to model active participation.