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Presentation delivered 6/9/11 via Adobe Connect on how the use of Twitter in higher education can increase learner engagement and student success.

Presentation delivered 6/9/11 via Adobe Connect on how the use of Twitter in higher education can increase learner engagement and student success.

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  • Twitter is often described as a micro-blogging platform or as a type of social network – it is both and more. Post are limited to 140 characters. It is used for marketing, promotion, searching for information, asking questions, topical discussions, sharing links and media, or just lurking. Its not exactly real-time, but it is always on and can be used for instant messaging. Like attending a party where everyone is invited. You can choose whether to work the room, listen in or join conversations - or start up your own.
  • Twitter can be engaging – some have described it as habit-forming or addictive. The power of presence is what makes Twitter so compelling and this can be translated into engaging interactivity when applied to education.
  • In the Junco, Heibergert, and Loken article in the Aug 2010 Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, researchers found that students using Twitter had significantly higher Engagement scores as well as higher achievement scores. There are numerous studies that show increased student engagement translates to greater student success. That is not to say using Twitter in your class will automatically mean students are more engaged – the activities need to be well thought out and relevant to the course learning outcomes. Student also require orientation to the technology.
  • Some activities which may apply to a wide range of disciplines focus on class and group discussion, research, and sharing of resources.
  • Mark Sample, who writes for the profhacker blog for The Chronicle “adapted Rick (Reo’s) original matrix, re-imagining the vertical axis as a spectrum of conversation, ranging from monologic to dialogic, and redefining the horizontal axis as a measurement of student activity, ranging from passive to active. After some other changes based on my experience with Twitter, I ended up with this revised Twitter Adoption Matrix (larger image):”
  • Quantitative assessment would be similar to how we assess online discussion activities: Set minimum standards (e.g. 10 tweets per week, post at least 2 or 2 tweets per day, reply to all mentions, share resources, contribute to bibliography, etc. – mostly number and frequencyQualitative values:posts were timely, relevant, substantive, insightful, etc. These could be yes/no, or likert with values attached (strongly agree- 5, agree - 3, disagree -1, strongly disagree -0).
  • Poll attendees – how many already have a Twitter account? How do people use Twitter? News, follow people, follow topics, post, share/re-tweet, etc.
  • Send ON Username (without quotes or brackets) to the shortcode for your area.For example, to get @SchauerTime's updates using only a phone in the US, send ON Schauertime to 40404.
  • Blackboard course, edit mode on, course documents, build blank page, html paste, submit


  • 1. Using Twitter in the Virtual Classroom
    Bill Knapp, Dean
    Learning Technologies
    Lakeland Community College
    CC-BY-NC-SA, by svartling
  • 2. What is Twitter?
    “Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations.”
  • 3. Twitter for Teaching and Learning
    Case Study:
    The Twitter Experiment: UT Dallas
    Junco, R., Heiberger, G. and Loken, E. (2011), The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27: 119–132.
  • 4. Table 1. Engagement Score & GPA
  • 5. Learning Activities
    Asking/posting questions
    Identifying key points: lectures/readings
    Gathering feedback
    Following current topics in news/blogs
    Group/class discussion
    Following experts/personalities
    Sharing resources
    Muddiest point/meta-cognitive trails
  • 6. Adoption Assessment Tool
  • 7. Assessing Twitter Activities
    Share a news article, webpage, re-tweet posts relevant to our discussion
    Frequency of messages (every day)
    Total number of messages ( e.g. 10 per week)
    Replying to others who “mentioned” you
    Mentioning others in tweets (having to do with something they tweeted)
    Asking pertinent questions for the class to respond to
    Evaluate / comment on resources: articles, tweets by experts
    Create #hashtags and/or lists for others to follow
  • 8. Getting Started
    Getting acquainted – what’s here?
    Setting up an account
    email address for each account
  • 9. Privacy Settings
    Email Address
    Phone Number
    Show Media
    Protect Tweets (Private Account)
    HTTPS - secure pages
    Blocking followers who spam
  • 10. Searching and Subscribing
    Searching Keywords
    Creating (or following) #Hashtags
    Following People
    Finding/Creating Lists
    Receiving Notifications
    Direct Messaging
    Mentioning @People
  • 11. Embedding Twitter feeds in Blackboard
    My Website
    Lists (or search)
    Test settings
    Finish and grab