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The Relationship Between Class Size and Active Twitter Participation in the Engineering Classroom

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Statics Online

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1567.1 - 26.1567.12



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Paper Authors


Devin R. Berg University of Wisconsin, Stout Orcid 16x16

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Devin Berg is an Assistant Professor and Program Director of the B.S. Manufacturing Engineering program in the Engineering and Technology Department at the University of Wisconsin - Stout.

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The Causal Relationship between Class Size and Active Twitter Participation in the Engineering ClassroomAbstractThe use of Twitter in the higher education classroom has expanded in recent years as educatorscome to realize the benefits of social media use as a tool for inter-student communication.Further benefits have been found in relation to asking students to communicate the content of agiven course to a broader, general public audience. However, at the same time it can be achallenge to promote active participation in this sort of activity due to students’ apprehensionabout putting themselves out there and being wrong. One hypothesis is that this can be overcomeby employing a larger cohort of participants thus creating a sense of anonymity through presencewithin a large population. Further, the use of a larger participant pool increases the odds of itcontaining students who are willing to drive the online classroom discussion through theirparticipation. It is expected that the presence of such individuals lowers the barrier to entry forthe rest of the students.These questions were explored over a multi-semester study of student participation in directedTwitter discussions within an engineering mechanics classroom. First, a small cohort of studentswas used and later the same study was conducted with a large cohort of students. Comparisonswill be made between these two cohorts on the basis of active engagement in the assigned tasks,course performance, and student perception of the tasks.As part of the study, students were tasked with applying the principles of fundamentalengineering analysis to objects found in their normal surroundings over the course of thesemester. By asking students to complete assignments where they had to apply engineeringanalysis to an everyday object, it was intended for the student to look beyond their textbook andrelate the course material to their surroundings. Similar work by others has demonstrated successin getting students to make the connection between the classroom and the “real world”.The deliverables for these assignments consist of either a photograph, video, or writtendescription of an object or event that demonstrates the concepts relevant to the week’s coursematerial. Examples of students’ work will be presented along with discussion of lessons learnedand recommendations for the use of this method in the future. Evaluation of student learningoutcomes will be conducted through the issuance of pre- and post-assessments using the ConceptAssessment Tool for Statics as well as performance on course examinations. Comparisons willbe made between the small cohort and large cohort groups.

Berg, D. R. (2015, June), The Relationship Between Class Size and Active Twitter Participation in the Engineering Classroom Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24904

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