Online Technological Media in the Higher Education Classroom: An Exploratory Investigation of Varied Levels of Twitter Use

Online Technological Media in the Higher Education Classroom: An Exploratory Investigation of Varied Levels of Twitter Use

Eric Fife (School of Communication Studies, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA), C. Leigh Nelson (School of Communication Studies, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA) and Theresa B. Clarke (Department of Marketing, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/ijopcd.2014040103
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Abstract

An exploratory quasi-experiment of college-level students was used to examine the difference in a variety of course indicators among instructors when they did not use Twitter as a supplement to their courses, when they moderately used Twitter, and when they used Twitter a great deal in their courses. When instructors used Twitter in their classes, perceived learning via technological mediums, perceived classroom community with regard to technological media, perceived pedagogical affect, perceived course effectiveness, perceived learning performance, and perceived perception of learning from Twitter were all greater than when they did not use Twitter in their courses. Overall results of this study recommend further research and a continued focus on the usage of Twitter in the higher education classroom.
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Introduction

In a recent study of the top technologies to incorporate into the classroom, Tomei (2011) recommends greater inclusion of online technologies by teachers whenever possible. Though scholars have conducted research into a variety of ways of incorporating technology into teaching, research into the use of social networking sites (SNS) has been very limited (Nemetz, Aiken, Cooney, & Pascal, 2012). Scholars have only recently begun to examine the use of online technologies such as blogging (Chang, Liu, & Chang 2011), mobile video blogging (Kim, 2011), and social bookmarking (Gray & Carter 2012) in an instructional context. Even less research has empirically examined the use of the microblogging SNS Twitter (Clarke & Nelson, 2012; Lowe & Laffey, 2011; Rinaldo, Tapp, & Laverie, 2011). This paper begins to address that gap in the literature by describing an exploratory study in the varying levels of use of Twitter by instructors in the college classroom, noting its impact on several dependent variables, and suggesting possible avenues of future research. Dagada and Chigona (2013) contend that the majority of academics do not fully understand the interrelationships between content, pedagogy, and technologies. Because online technologies carry potential to enrich professional growth (Isman, Gazi, & Aksal, 2012), the value of this study is greater insight into effective Web-based teaching methods for academic professionals interested in online learning.

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