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Microblogging in the Large Lecture Classroom: Facilitating Participation for Students with High Communication Apprehension

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Social Media and In-class Technology: Creating Active Learning Environments

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.933.1 - 25.933.13



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Paper Authors

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Mihaela Vorvoreanu Purdue University, West Lafayette


Erin E. Bowen Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Erin Bowen's areas of expertise include human factors and performance in organizational technology integration, organizational system factors impacting high-technology organizations, and aviation psychology. She provides training and education in the application of advanced statistical and methodological techniques to organizational settings, particularly survey design and analysis, advanced confirmatory factor analysis, and structural equation modeling.
Bowen holds a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology and advanced minor in research methodology and is a member of the Association for Aviation Psychology, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Applied Experimental and Engineering Psychology, the Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology, and the American Psychological Association.

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Dawn D. Laux Purdue University

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Dawn Laux is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Technology (CIT) at Purdue University. She has been with the University since 2007 and is responsible for teaching database fundamentals and introductory technology courses. Laux earned her M.S. degree from Iowa State University in information systems in 2007 and has 10 years of industrial experience in the information technology field. Her research areas of interest include technology readiness and the social impacts of technology.

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Microblogging in the Large Lecture Classroom: Facilitating Participation for Students with High Communication ApprehensionEngineering and technology educators have proposed the introduction of various communicationtechnologies in large lecture courses in order to increase student participation - e.g. (Ebner, 2009;Junco, Heiberger, & Loken, 2011). The rationale behind using social media such asmicroblogging, clickers, text messaging or similar services is that the technologies make it easierfor students to interact and ask questions in the intimidating context of a large lecture class. Inother words, students with high communication apprehension, as measured on previously-validated assessment scales (McCroskey, Beatty, Kearney, & Plax, 1985), are hypothesized tobenefit from the use of technologies that mediate classroom participation. In this researchproject, we address this hypothesis by exploring the relationships among communicationapprehension, technology readiness (Parasuraman, 2000), and student perceptions of technologywith classroom interaction and overall learning performance.We present original data collected in the context of a freshman Technology large-lecture coursein which microblogging service Yammer was introduced mid-semester and used for studentparticipation. Students were assessed pre- and post-intervention through online surveys thatasked about perceptions of classroom interactions and learning, as well as measures ofcommunication apprehension and technology readiness. We analyze the set of 69 pre- and post-intervention survey pairs in order to identify the relationships among communicationapprehension, technology readiness, and comfort with classroom participation, both face to faceand through microblogging.The results of this study are relevant for engineering and technology educators, primarily thosewho teach large lecture courses (with more than 50 students) and who wish to increase students’level of and comfort with classroom participation. The results are firmly grounded in theory, andthe relationships we identify between these constructs provide insights critical to guiding thesuccessful integration of a variety of interactive technologies into the classroom.Ebner, M. (2009). Introducing live microblogging: How single presentations can be enhanced by the mass. Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching, 2(2), 91-100.Junco, R., Heiberger, G., & Loken, E. (2011). The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27(2), 119-132.McCroskey, J. C., Beatty, M. J., Kearney, P., & Plax, T. G. (1985). The content validity of the PRCA-24 as a measure of communication apprehension across communication contexts. Communication Quarterly, 33(3), 165-173.Parasuraman, A. (2000). Technology readiness index (TRI). Journal of Service Research, 2(4), 307-320.

Vorvoreanu, M., & Bowen, E. E., & Laux, D. D. (2012, June), Microblogging in the Large Lecture Classroom: Facilitating Participation for Students with High Communication Apprehension Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21690

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