Understanding student use of twitter and online forums in higher education

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The aim of this study was to better understand how students use online forums and Twitter in undergraduate learning. Students completed an anonymous online survey (N=50, 54% completion rate) to assess their general approach to these tools, the types of interaction experienced and specific uses . Students were also asked to relate their use to categories of learning outcomes and rate the importance of different factors in using each tool. The study demonstrates more students use forums than Twitter but that both tools provide support for learning outcomes aimed at increasing knowledge and understanding and key skills. Furthermore, they do this differently; Twitter provides access to news media and those outside their programme whilst forums support discussion with peers. Different factors predicted how highly each tool was rated but in most cases, a key factor was whether students felt that use of a tool would increase their grade, indicating that assessment outcomes are strongly linked to use of both tools, despite them differing in terms of interactions and specific uses. The study has several limitations including a relatively small sample size and lack of detail about exact types of resources accessed and forum structures used.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-343
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Early online date19 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Learning outcomes
  • Online discussion forums
  • Social media
  • Twitter
  • Undergraduate


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