June 14, 2014
June 14, 2014
June 14, 2014
20.40.1 - 20.40.10
Using Social Media to Create a Global Community of Sustainability- Engaged StudentsPrograms that enable engineering students to study outside of the United States have beeneffectively integrated with engineering education (Trotz et al., 2009). These programs areexposing students to global concepts of sustainability (Hokanson et al., 2007) and helping themdevelop core competencies in engineering while simultaneously building higher cognitive levelsin some skills and in attitudes and identity outcomes (Bielefeldt et al., 2010). However, not everystudent can travel outside of the country. Social networking sites, such as Twitter, have not onlybeen embraced by students from younger generations, they are also being used to communicatescience (Darling et al. 2013). This study seeks to answer the question: can social media be usedto create a global community of students that are engaged in learning about sustainability?In 2013, the University of South Florida (USF) and the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI)launched “Reclaim” as a way to create a community that connects researchers around the worldfrom different disciplines who are dedicated to the recovery of resources from waste. “Reclaim”utilizes a website (usf-reclaim.org) with a blog, a YouTube channel (youtube.com/usfreclaim),and a Twitter account (@USF_Reclaim) to create this global community and disseminateresearch findings and educational materials. In addition, a one-credit course is currently beingoffered to students from USF and UVI, designed to operate entirely through the use of thesesocial networking platforms. The overall purpose of the course is to inform students about theprofessional meaning of sustainability across different disciplines, and help them developskillsets to become globally competent in science and engineering, with a particular focus onsustainable engineered, environmental, and social systems. Each week, one or two studentsproduce a 10-15 minute video and select reading materials related to a topic selected by thecourse professor. Case studies are used to explore interdisciplinary solutions to context-sensitivesystems. The responsible students host a Twitter chat each week about the topic covered in thevideo, the readings, or the case study.The content and substance of conversations taking place during weekly Twitter discussions andthe interaction between students in different geographic locations and from different disciplinesis currently being measured. After the first four weeks, the Twitter chats have seen participationfrom over 40 people from different disciplines (engineering, anthropology, education,philosophy, marine science, biochemistry, and microbiology) representing nine differentuniversities in the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Czech Republic, the Netherlands,Bolivia, and the United Kingdom. Analysis of YouTube analytics data and data from the Twitterchats suggests several findings: 1) participants from outside of the United States are viewingonline material for a longer period of time on average than participants from the United States; 2)most students used Twitter infrequently before the course and none of them used it in this way;3) while multiple conversational strands occur simultaneously in the Twitter discussions,participants maintain conversations for up to nine turns over a 15 minute time interval; 4) contentanalysis of tweets suggests that most tweets are structured as reasoned claims with somearguments framed as syllogisms; and 5) new conversational strands have emerged during Twitterchats as participants asked questions that either challenged a comment made by others in a tweetor requested clarification of points.References1. Bielefeldt, A.R., Paterson, K., Swan, C. 2010. Measuring the Value Added from Service Learning in Project-Based Engineering Education. International Journal of Engineering Education, 26(3), 535-546.2. Darling, E.S., Shiffman, D., Côté, I.M., Drew, J.A. 2013. The role of Twitter in the life cycle of a scientific publication. Ideas in Ecology and Evolution, 6, 32-43.3. Hokanson, D.R., Phillips, L.D., Mihelcic, J.R. 2007. Educating Engineers in the Sustainable Futures Model with a Global Perspective: Education, Research and Diversity Initiatives. International Journal of Engineering Education, 23(2), 254-265.4. Trotz, M.A., Muga, H.E., Philips, L.D., Yeh, D., Stuart, A., Mihelcic, J.R. 2009. Non- Traditional University Research Partners that Facilitate Service Learning and Graduate Research for Sustainable Development. Proceedings of the World Environmental and Water Resources Congress, S. Starrett, ed., American Society of Civil Engineers, Kansas City, MO, 2038–2048.
Verbyla, M. E., & Naughton, C. C., & Feldman, A., & Vernaza-Hernandez , V., & Brandt, M. E., & Trotz, M. A., & Wells, E. C., & Mihelcic, J. R. (2014, June), Using Social Media to Create a Global Community of Sustainability-Engaged Students Paper presented at 2014 ASEE International Forum, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--17203
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