A Twitter Discussion Board for Education

I recently completed another HICSS paper using data I collected this past school year. HICSS, which stands for the Hawaiian International Conference on System Sciences, is the premier conference in my field. It is always difficult when deciding to submit to HICSS because with a little more detail, a HICSS paper can easily be converted into a journal publication. Yet HICSS remains a great platform for sharing ideas, and I hope to continue my contributions for some time to come.

My 2012 HICSS paper is centered on a new design I implemented for online learning communities, which allows students to make Twitter posts, or tweets, and those tweets feed directly into my installation of Elgg. Elgg is an open source tool written in PHP/MySql and has been a great platform to experiment with different social media tools in the classroom. In the past I have experimented with blogging, tagging and ratings. I even developed a recommender engine based on user-generated content.

This past year I experimented with discussion boards. More specifically, I integrated Twitter with Elgg’s discussion board. The results were fantastic and students stated that the combination of Twitter and the discussion board really helped to foster interaction, community and learning.

Right now, my paper is under review and I won’t receive confirmation for another month or so, but I remain optimistic that the paper will be received well. In the meantime, I am hard at work on a more comprehensive paper that I hope to submit to an upper-level academic journal. The paper will chronicle the complete design process and include new data collected during this past spring and summer. I also hope to include an in-depth social network analysis that compares online learning and blended learning. Stay tuned for more!

B. Thoms. “Perceptions and Outcomes of Microblogging in Higher Education.” Journal of Information Technology Education (JITE), v11, 2012.
B. Thoms. “Integrating Blogging and Microblogging to Foster Learning and Social Interaction in Online Learning Communities,” Hawaiian International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 45), Jan., 2012, Maui, HI.

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