The Relationship between Class Size and Active Twitter Participation in the Engineering Classroom

The Relationship between Class Size and Active Twitter Participation in the Engineering Classroom

Presented at the 2015 ASEE Annual Conference in Seattle, WA. 15 June 2015

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Devin Berg

June 15, 2015
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    ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/

    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
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    ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/

    Promoting out-of-class discussion and public engagement? • Concise expression of ideas. • Self-learning. • Stronger student-teacher relationship. • Communication to public audience.
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    ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/

    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]
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    ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/

    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]
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    ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/

    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.
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    ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/

    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.
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    ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/

    Twitter Logistics • Tweets were collected under the course hashtag (#engmech). • Archived using TAGSv5 (https://tags.hawksey.info/)
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    ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/

    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.
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    ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/

    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?
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    ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/

    Student performance between control and treatment groups was similar.
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    ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/

    The submissions collected support further use of this form of assignment.
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    ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/

    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.
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    ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/

    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.
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    ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/

    Acknowledgements The author would like to thank the UW-Stout engineering students for their photographic and textual contributions.