AERA 2010 - Investigating Twitter and Social Presence

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To be truly effective, online learning must facilitate the social process of learning. This involves
providing space and opportunities for students and faculty to engage in social activities.
Although learning management systems offer several tools that support social learning and
student engagement, the scope, structure, and functionality of those tools can inhibit and restrain
just-in-time social connections and interactions. In this paper, we describe the results of our use
of Twitter to encourage free-flowing just-in-time interactions and how these interactions
enhanced social presence in our online courses.

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AERA 2010 - Investigating Twitter and Social Presence

  1. 1. InvestigatingTwitter’sability to enhance social presence<br />Patrick Lowenthal | patrick.lowenthal@ucdenver.edu | Twitter: @plowenthal<br />Joni Dunlap | joni.dunlap@ucdenver.edu | Twitter: @jonidunlap<br />
  2. 2. Research questions<br />What are student's perceptions of using Twitter in an online course? [Quantitative + Qualitative]<br />What are the different perceptions of social presence between students who use Twitter and those who don't? [Quantitative + Qualitative]<br />
  3. 3.
  4. 4. Phase 1 results<br />
  5. 5. Phase 1 results<br /> “Twitter has been a great way for me to check in with everyone who is using it.<br />I found out how other’s were feeling about school, how life was treating them, how their jobs and families were doing.<br />This is something much more intimate than mandatory weekly discussions...”<br />
  6. 6. Phase 2 results<br />
  7. 7. Phase 2 results<br />
  8. 8. Connected to instructor<br />Top 5 Activities<br />
  9. 9. Connected to instructor<br />Bottom 5 Activities<br />
  10. 10. Connected to peers<br />Top 5 Activities<br />
  11. 11. Connected to peers<br />Bottom 5 Activities<br />
  12. 12. Connected to instructor<br />What was the least effective at helping you feel connected to your instructor?<br /><ul><li>The Twitter activity was least effective I thought. I don't see how knowing what my instructor or other classmates are doing with their leisure time helps me learn.
  13. 13. Twitter since I had never used Twitter and I believe it is limiting to the number of characters
  14. 14. I hate twitter. </li></li></ul><li>Connected to instructor<br />What was the least effective at helping you feel connected to your instructor?<br /><ul><li>The Twitter activity was least effective I thought. I don't see how knowing what my instructor or other classmates are doing with their leisure time helps me learn.
  15. 15. Twitter since I had never used Twitter and I believe it is limiting to the number of characters
  16. 16. I hate twitter. </li></li></ul><li>Connected to instructor<br />What was the least effective at helping you feel connected to your instructor?<br /><ul><li>The Twitter activity was least effective I thought. I don't see how knowing what my instructor or other classmates are doing with their leisure time helps me learn.
  17. 17. Twitter since I had never used Twitter and I believe it is limiting to the number of characters
  18. 18. I hate twitter. </li></li></ul><li>Connected to peers<br />What was the least effective at helping you feel connected to your peers?<br />• Twitter, don't get it or understand why to keep people up to date when I am working…<br />• The Twitter …I think it is good to know who your classmates are but to know what they are doing every minute is not interesting to me. <br />• I don't use or get twitter at all. I think its lame.<br />
  19. 19. Connected to peers<br />What was the least effective at helping you feel connected to your peers?<br />• Twitter, don't get it or understand why to keep people up to date when I am working…<br />• The Twitter …I think it is good to know who your classmates are but to know what they are doing every minute is not interesting to me. <br />• I don't use or get twitter at all. I think its lame.<br />
  20. 20. Connected to peers<br />What was the least effective at helping you feel connected to your peers?<br />• Twitter, don't get it or understand why to keep people up to date when I am working…<br />• The Twitter …I think it is good to know who your classmates are but to know what they are doing every minute is not interesting to me. <br />• I don't use or get twitter at all. I think its lame.<br />
  21. 21. Phase 3 plan<br />Complete interviews in May & June 2010<br />Four students with high SP scores, four students with low SP scores<br />Sample questions:<br />3. In an online course, how important do you think feeling connected to your instructor is as well as getting a sense that your instructor is "there" and "real"? Why? What types of technologies and learning activities help? <br />4. In an online course, how important do you think feeling connected to your peers is as well as getting a sense that they are "there" and "real"? Why? What types of technologies and learning activities help?<br />
  22. 22. Discussion<br />Preliminary results are different for Phase Two than Phase One<br />Need to spend more time helping students “Get it”<br />Must recognize it might not be a good “fit” for all<br />People form strong feelings about Twitter before ever using it<br />Low tech solutions might be a better alternative<br />
  23. 23. Conclusion<br />More data needed<br />Where to invest time and energy<br />Variety is the spice of life<br />
  24. 24. Follow us on Twitter<br />Joni Dunlap | Twitter: @jonidunlap<br />Patrick Lowenthal | Twitter: @plowenthal<br />Paper & Presentation available |www.slideshare.net/plowenthal/documents<br />
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