Paper presented at #husITa16 in Seoul, Korea, 29 June 2016.
Background: Utilizing social media and other technological based learning tools will become further necessary as more programs are moving on-line. A number of social work educators utilize social media in the classroom as an extension of the classroom and to assist students in connecting with each other and others in the field. Hitchcock and Battista (2013) stated that Twitter connects students to professionals, which creates a professional network for social work students well after they graduate.
Methods: Students in several different social work courses (social work research, practice courses, and policy) were required to utilize Twitter as a class assignment. These courses were taught over three different modalities, including hybrid, distance via video and fully online. Utilizing Twitter, students were required to post one Tweet each week and reply to two students per week related to course content. Based on this assignment, students were asked to voluntary participate in an online survey and a face-to-face focus group to share their thoughts about the usage of Twitter in a social work classroom.
Results: Results and findings from three semesters (12 courses) will be provided and discussed. Currently data is being collected and analyzed, but will be presented in detail at the conference. Preliminary findings indicate that students felt more connected with other social work students and practitioners. Students discussed having a better understanding of current events and the implications on individuals and communities in need.
Implications: This study examines students’ thoughts and feelings about the use of social media, specifically Twitter, in social work courses. The information provided in this study will help determine how social work professors can best utilize Twitter in the classroom. Educators can utilize this knowledge to shape their own course assignments.
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