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Enhancing Undergraduate Teaching and Feedback using Social Media – an Engineering Case Study

Ben Evans Orcid Logo

Engineering Education

Swansea University Author: Ben Evans Orcid Logo

DOI (Published version): 10.11120/ened.2013.00015

Abstract

For large modules taught within the College of Engineering at Swansea University such as the level 1 module Scientific & Engineering Skills (EG168) and Engineering Analysis (EG189/190), it is a considerable challenge for the lecturer(s) to develop a meaningful relationship with students. Lecture...

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Published in: Engineering Education
Published: 2013
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa16709
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Abstract: For large modules taught within the College of Engineering at Swansea University such as the level 1 module Scientific & Engineering Skills (EG168) and Engineering Analysis (EG189/190), it is a considerable challenge for the lecturer(s) to develop a meaningful relationship with students. Lecture cohorts on these modules are large (250+ students) and examples are delivered through smaller classes (~50 students) and laboratory sessions by supplementary lecturers and/or postdoctoral researchers. This inevitably leads to a certain lack of continuity with regards to students’ contact with the lecturer. It also places a significant pressure on ‘office hours’ and email.This paper details a project aimed at tackling this problem by establishing an online community, using the social networking facility ‘twitter’ to connect students to the lecturer, who was able to drip feed examples to students in the form of online video ‘mini lectures’ posted and discussed via twitter. It will be argued thatthis not only allowed an enhanced sense of affinity and belonging within the module cohort, but also improved real time feedback for the lecturer who was able to adjust future lecture content based on the feedback being received via twitter.This technique was initially trialled on the EG168 Scientific and Engineering Skills module: a very large module ( 550 students) taken by all level 1 engineers (and Sports Science students) in the first term of their degree at Swansea University. One of the aims of this module in recent deliveries has been to try and tailor examples to specific engineering disciplines whilst delivering generic content to the whole cohort through large lectures. It will be shown that delivery of online multimedia discipline-specific examples to students via the web (posted and discussed using twitter) enhanced our ability to achieve this.The fundamental raison d’etre of this project was and is to embrace Benjamin Franklin’s famous philosophy:’Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn.’
Keywords: engagement, feedback, social media, Twitter, YouTube
College: College of Engineering