The Use of Twitter in Large Lecture Courses: Do the Students See a Benefit?

 

The purpose of this two-year quantitative study was to determine the usefulness of the micro-blogging tool Twitter in large classes for improving the students’ sense of community and belonging. Three instructors of large classes were recruited to test the outcomes of using Twitter as a learning tool, one each from the Departments of Geography and Psychology, and the College of Nursing. Twitter was used as a learning tool to allow students to engage in discussion and ask questions in real time during class as well as outside of class. The method used by the authors included surveys that measured students’ perception of their sense of community and belonging, their engagement with the Twitter portion of the course, and their thoughts on the use of Twitter for academic purposes in a higher-education classroom setting. Data about students’ use of Twitter was further collected using the Twitter Archiving Google Spreadsheet tool. The authors conclude this study showed that Twitter, if integrated into the course and supported by instructor and/or assistants who are familiar with the use of Twitter, improved the sense of community reported by students.