Social Media - American Society for Engineering Education

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Transcript Social Media - American Society for Engineering Education

Using Social Media to Create a Global Community of Sustainability-Engaged Students

Matthew E. Verbyla

Environmental Engineering, University of South Florida

Colleen C. Naughton

Civil Engineering, University of South Florida

Allan Feldman

Science Education, University of South Florida

Vanessa Vernaza-Hernandez

Science Education, University of South Florida

Marilyn E. Brandt

Marine Science, University of the Virgin Islands

Maya A. Trotz

Environmental Engineering, University of South Florida

E. Christian Wells

Anthropology, University of South Florida

James R. Mihelcic

Environmental Engineering, University of South Florida

2014 ASEE International Forum Indianapolis, Indiana June 14, 2014

International experiences and the global engineering/science skill set

“A Global Community of Scholars”


Core competencies in science & engineering 2.

Higher cognitive levels in attitudes & identity outcomes – Language & cultural skills – Teamwork & group dynamic skills – Knowledge of business and education cultures of other countries and international variations in practice – Exposure to global concepts of sustainability Sources: Bielefeldt et al. (2010); Hokanson et al. (2007); NRC (1999); Trotz et al. (2009)

But… Not everyone can travel abroad!

Social Media: It’s not just for teens anymore… There is a broad audience for young professionals

• YouTube reaches more U.S. adults between 18-34 years than any cable network.

• More than half of U.S. adults between 45-54 years use a social networking site.

• The fastest-growing demographic on Twitter is 55-64 year-olds.



Context-Sensitive Implementation of Synergistic Water-Energy Systems


Common research objectives

• NSF PIRE Grant • USAID-NSF PEER Science Grant • EPA Nutrient Management Center Global network of professionals dedicated to understanding context-specific engineered systems that recover water, nutrients, & energy resources from “waste”.

Spring 2014 Graduate Course:

Context Sensitive Implementation of Synergistic Water-Energy-Nutrient Systems

• One-credit course run entirely with a blog, Twitter, & YouTube • 25 students in Florida, U.S. Virgin Islands, Czech Republic • Course Objectives: – Develop the global engineering/science skill set (slide 2) – Learn about strategies that integrate social, engineered, and environmental systems for sustainable resource management – Learn to use social media to discuss scientific research

Spring 2014 Graduate Course:

Context Sensitive Implementation of Synergistic Water-Energy-Nutrient Systems

Video, reading materials reviewed, posted to blog Students prepare video, select reading materials, and discussion questions Hour-long Twitter discussion takes place Participants watch video, read articles, prepare answers to questions Next student group prepares video, etc.

Day 1 Day 6

Research Question and Objectives of Study

Research Question:

Can Twitter, YouTube, and a blog be used to create a “global community of scholars” that are engaged in learning about the meaning of sustainability across multiple disciplines?

Specific Objectives:

1. Document how Reclaim’s YouTube channel is being used.

2. Measure the class participation in weekly Twitter discussions.

3. Describe the nature of participant diversity in the conversation strings that emerged during class discussions 4. Analyze the content of individual tweets during class discussions


(approved by University of South Florida IRB) • YouTube Analytics • TAGS software v5.1 with Microsoft Excel – Sample of tweets analyzed for content – Sample of conversation strings categorized by ‘type of talk’ using a dialogical framework (Wegerif & Mercer, 1997) – Inter-coder agreement strategy (Creswell 2013) • Pre- and post-course surveys

Twitter Discussion Content Analysis

Disputation -al Talk Agreeing / Disagreeing Unintellig ible Question (Bloom’s taxonomy) Claim (no premise) Individual tweet codes Argument (claim with premise) Informative statement Question & Answer Convers. string codes Exploratory talk Cumulative Talk Sources: Bloom (1994); Feldman (2006); Wegerif & Mercer (1997)


YouTube video viewers

Average View Duration

YouTube Videos: Average percentage viewed (30 day avg.)

Florida U.S. Virgin Islands Possible explanations

• Sharing with non-participant friends, etc.

• Familiarity with content • Multiple views per viewer • Repeated viewing of portions of video • Novelty of material • Length of video (Pearson’s c = -0.32)

Pace of Twitter Discussions

• Avg. tweets per discussion: 340 • Avg. tweets per minute: 5.7

• Avg. seconds per tweet: 10.6


Participation in Twitter Discussions

Participation in Conversation Groups (dialogue exchanges initiated by a single comment or question) Anthropologists were conversationalists

Content Analysis of Individual Tweets

(n = 318 tweets) The majority of participants’ tweets were structured as claims with no premise** Participants agreed with each other more frequently than they disagreed*

* p < 0.01

** p < 0.001

‘Types of Talk’ in Twitter Conversation Strings

(n = 54 conversation strings) EXAMPLE: Exploratory talk in conversation string (5 turns):

P1: What are the challenges related to current water management strategies?

P2: They are energy intensive and wasteful since they focus more on meeting regulations than sustainability P3: Metrics of sustainability can be differentially conceived in particular contexts though P2: Agreed though according to … video, water management is very linear and throws away nutrients and energy P3: Current centralized water management, yes

Pre- and Post-Course Surveys What social networks do you use?

Pre-Course Survey

Rank the reasons you use social networks (in order of importance):

1. Learning/Professional Development 2. News/information 3. Recreation and entertainment 4. Research 5. Connecting with friends 6. Teaching

Post-Course Survey

Rank the reasons you use social networks (in order of importance):

1. Learning/Professional Development 2. News/information


▲ Research (p = 0.145) 4.

▲ Teaching (p = 0.082)

5. Connecting with friends


▼ Recreation and entertainment (p = 0.321)

* p-values calculated using Kendall’s rank correlation coefficient

Pre- and Post-Course Surveys

Define sustainability in your own words…

42%* of students appeared to have changed their definitions of sustainability 17%* of those students (10%* of total) appeared to have broadened their definitions.

* alpha = 0.05


• Students and faculty learned together • Student-driven conversations had a diverse group of participants • Students’ definitions of sustainability changed and/or broadened • Social media use patterns changed (more career-focused?) • Twitter and YouTube allowed for global participation (but what about internet inequity? who pays for these costs?)

Perhaps still not enough evidence to confirm that the types of exchanges between course participants actually do signify the development of a “global community of scholars” (but still more data to analyze)

Future Work

• Code more tweets and conversation strings • Analyze qualitative data from surveys • Monitor post-course social network use patterns • When course is offered again, make changes: – Platform for discussions (character limit, public/private sphere) – Video length <5 min.


Thank you!


• This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant 1243510, as well as a Graduate Research Fellowship awarded to the lead author. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.


• Slides 2, 10 and 11: 1.








National Research Council. Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives. National Academy Press, Washington, DC. 1999.

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. 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. 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. Wegerif, R. and Mercer, N. (1997) A Dialogical Framework for Investigating Talk. In Wegerif, R. and Scrimshaw, P. (Eds) Computers and Talk in the Primary Classroom, pp 49-65. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. ISBN: 1853593915 Bloom, B.S. (1994). Reflections on the development and use of the taxonomy.

the Study of Education

, Chicago: National Society for the Study of Education.

In Rehage, K.J., Anderson, L.W., Sosniak, L.A. "Bloom's taxonomy: A forty-year retrospective". Yearbook of the National Society for

Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Feldman, A. (1999) The role of conversation in collaborative action research,

Educational Action Research

, 7:1, 125-147 • Social Media Use slide: –

• Images on slides 4 and 5: – – –



Pre- and Post-Course Surveys

Define sustainability in your own words… NOT CHANGED CHANGED BROADENED

Content Analysis of Discussion Questions from Twitter Chats

(n = 65 questions) Bloom’s Taxonomy