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A Preliminary Summative Assessment of the HigherEd 2.0 Program - Using Social Media in Engineering Education

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Innovative Use of Technology and the Internet in Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.92.1 - 24.92.15

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Paper Authors


Edward J. Berger University of Virginia

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Edward Berger is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia. He served as the PI on the HigherEd 2.0 grant from 2007-2012.

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Edward Pan University of Virginia


Amy Orange University of Houston-Clear Lake

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Dr. Orange currently teaches courses in qualitative research methods and research design. Her research interests include accountability in K-12 education and teacher mistreatment by their administrators.

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Walter Fredrick Heinecke University of Virginia

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Walt Heinecke is Associate Professor of Research, Statistics, & Evaluation at the Curry School of Education at UVa. He specializes in research, evaluation, and policy. He is editor of the book series Research Methods for Educational Technology published by IAP.

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A Preliminary Summative Assessment of the HigherEd 2.0 Program–Using Social Media in Engineering EducationAbstractThe HigherEd 2.0 (HED2.0) program initiated in 2006, and the research team developed andevaluated pedagogical techniques for integrating social media (what we used to call web 2.0)tools into engineering education. Inspired by the 2006/2007 rapid adoption of podcasting forentertainment, news, and other non-academic purposes, the HED2.0 program sought: (i) tointegrate various social media tools into the fabric of engineering undergraduate classrooms, (ii)to evaluate the program using mixed methods and targeting various specific outcomes, and (iii) todevelop best practices for deployment of social media tools in support of student learning. TheHED2.0 program has focused on the use of blogs, video technologies (including podcasts), andstudent-generated content as powerful and productive pedagogical tools.This paper reports on a preliminary summative assessment of the program, its outcomes, itssuccesses, and its challenges. Throughout the program, a mixed-methods evaluation approachwas used, and it focused on a variety of factual factors (usage data, download statistics), surveyresponse data from students, faculty and student interviews, and student gradebook data. Whilethe full summative assessment of the program is beyond the scope of this conference paper, thispreliminary presentation focuses on several specific aspects of the program. First we considerstudent response to the idea of using social media for teaching and learning, and in particular weexamine student attitudes about, and usage of, the social media resources across multiple years ofthe program. What we learn is that student response to the program follows a somewhatpredictable diffusion of innovations framework, and we present data from student surveys, factualusage data, and interviews with students. Second, we examine the relationships between studentusage and engagement with HED 2.0 technologies and their performance on specific assessmentsin the course, including homeworks, quizzes, and exams. We characterize several model studentprofiles based upon the apparent impact of technology usage on their academic performance.Finally, we examine the role of incentives in shaping student use of the social media resources.Based upon different approaches to incentivizing usage, ranging from no incentives to somemeasure of course credit, we can conclude that students generally require an initial motivation toengage with what is (for most students) an entirely new framework for learning. However, afterstudents gain experience with the HED2.0 techniques, they require far fewer incentives tocontinue their engagement with the social media tools.

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