Fostering Digital Citizenship Among Digital Natives: Implementing Twitter Activities in Asynchronous Undergraduate and Graduate Courses

Concurrent Session 7

Brief Abstract

Many of today’s students are not as well-versed with popular social media sites (such as Twitter) as many employers and instructors assume. Through this session, participants will discuss the successes and challenges of designing, implementing, and evaluating Twitter activities in online courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. 


Dr. Mindy Menn is an Assistant Professor in Health Promotion and Kinesiology at Texas Woman's University.

Extended Abstract

Innovation and Impact: In today’s increasingly digital society, many students classified as digital natives are not digitally savvy. While many students have grown up surrounded by technology, these same students are woefully ill equipped to enter the workforce as digital citizens. In recognition of the discrepancy between students’ digital abilities and employers’ perceptions of students’ digital abilities, this presenter designed, implemented, and evaluated two sets of Twitter Activities; one set for use in an undergraduate level health informatics course and one set for use in a graduate level current issues in health education course. All activities encouraged professional social media engagement and were presented as a mechanism to explore course content in a unique environment, as an additional avenue to interact with peers, and as a tool to develop digital citizenship skills. Both sets of activities were included as graded assessments and participation was required in a majority of Twitter Activities for successful course completion. Each set of activities was summatively evaluated as a set using a pre-post, single sample design with an online survey instrument predicated on the Technology Acceptance Model. As a tool in development, the presenter has only researched the short-term impact of the Twitter Activities. Through summative assessments, most students have found the Twitter Activities rewarding. The medium-term and long-term impacts of these activities have not been evaluated to date.

Replicability and Scope: Due to the versatile nature of the Twitter Activities that will be discussed within this session, individuals across disciplines could replicate such activities across any discipline and across any type of higher education institution. While this project is predicated in social media activities related to the field of health education (more specifically health informatics and current issues in health education), individuals of all disciplines could replicate and scale the basic structure of the activities to their unique instructional needs.

Target Audience: The target audience for this presentation includes higher education personnel interested in fostering digital citizenship through the use of social media course activities in any discipline at any type of institution. More specifically, this session is intended for higher education educators/faculty and instructional designers interested in digital citizenship and/or teaching through social media use. As this area of instruction is still under development for future use, input from diverse stakeholders is appreciated and welcomed during this session.

Audience Engagement: In accordance with the nature of this type of session, participants will be engaged in one-to-one or small group interactive discussion with the presenter regarding their personal experiences of teaching through Twitter.

Session Objectives and Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this session, attendees will be able to:

Define digital citizenship.

Discuss two privacy concerns related to requiring Twitter participation for course credit.

Discuss two ways Twitter can be used to build community among online students.

Propose one way to revise existing Twitter Activities to enhance student engagement.