Patterns of Twitter Usage in One Cohort-Based Doctoral Program

Jason Draper, Armand A Buzzelli, E. Gregory Holdan
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 11  •  2016  •  pp. 163-183
An Instructional Management and Leadership doctoral program (IML) incorporated the use of Twitter to examine what this looked like in practice. Did students actually use Twitter, and if so, how frequently, for what purpose(s), and were there differences between students on the pattern of use? Additionally, we sought to determine if Twitter is a legitimate instructional tool and if the use of Twitter can help mitigate feelings of isolation. Utilizing a descriptive case study design we implemented a survey methodology by distributing a modified version of the First Year Engagement Questionnaire to five IML cohorts. Active use of Twitter was infrequent. IML students used Twitter to gather news, follow experts, and find stimulating interactions. Active users and students who previously had a Twitter account were more positive about using Twitter. On average however, IML students were infrequent, passive Twitter users, aggregating information to supplement instruction. They did not use Twitter to reduce feelings of isolation. Female and male students used Twitter similarly. Younger students were more active than older students. Familiarity with the platform potentially moderates Twitter activity. Twitter has utility as a supplemental instructional tool but expanded use requires active student engagement.
Higher Education, Case Study, Social Media, Twitter, Doctoral Cohort, Accelerated program
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