The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades

L’article suivant a récemment complété ma bibliographie de recherche dans le cadre de dispositifs socio-techniques exploitant Twitter dans un cursus pédagogique.

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The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades

R. Junco,* G. Heiberger† & E. Loken‡

*Lock Haven University, Lock Haven, PA 17745, USA

†South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA

‡The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA

 

Abstract :

Despite the widespread use of social media by students and its increased use by instructors,

very little empirical evidence is available concerning the impact of social media use on student

learning and engagement. This paper describes our semester-long experimental study to determine

if using Twitter – the microblogging and social networking platform most amenable to

ongoing, public dialogue – for educationally relevant purposes can impact college student

engagement and grades.Atotal of 125 students taking a first year seminar course for pre-health

professional majors participated in this study (70 in the experimental group and 55 in the

control group). With the experimental group, Twitter was used for various types of academic

and co-curricular discussions. Engagement was quantified by using a 19-item scale based on

the National Survey of Student Engagement. To assess differences in engagement and grades,

we used mixed effects analysis of variance (ANOVA) models, with class sections nested within

treatment groups. We also conducted content analyses of samples of Twitter exchanges. The

ANOVA results showed that the experimental group had a significantly greater increase in

engagement than the control group, as well as higher semester grade point averages. Analyses

of Twitter communications showed that students and faculty were both highly engaged in the

learning process in ways that transcended traditional classroom activities. This study provides

experimental evidence that Twitter can be used as an educational tool to help engage students

and to mobilize faculty into a more active and participatory role.

 

Keywords :

cooperative/collaborative learning, learning communities, media in education, post-secondary

education, social media, teaching/learning strategies.

 

 


Xavier INGHILTERRA

Docteur qualifié en Sciences de l'Information & de la Communication • Chargé de Recherche chez ICADEMIE • Chercheur affilié au laboratoire I3M

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