A challenge for today’s engineers and scientists is how to better communicate their research to the public and make it understandable. To address this, two of the graduate students on the RECLAIM social media team, Matthew Verbyla and Colleen Naughton, designed and implemented a course led by Dr. James R. Mihelcic that integrated social media (twitter, you tube, and blogging) into a one credit hour seminar. Students would make professional 10-15 minute videos like the one below, select six question, and moderate a discussion on twitter for one hour every Friday using #chatreclaim. This challenged students to present their research and respond critically in 140 characters.
Not only did students from engineering and anthropology participate at both USF and the University of Virgin Islands but we even had other international students and distinguished professors such as David Sedlak engage in the conversation. Matthew and Colleen also worked with our monitoring team for the NSF-PIRE grant to evaluate the course. Participating students took part in a pre and post course survey and the twitter conversations were analyzed. Results of this study were presented and published at the American Society of Engineering Education in Indianapolis Indiana on June 14th, 2014. See the conference paper for more details: “Using Social Media to Create a Global Community of Sustainably-Engaged Students”.
This Spring 2015 semester, RECLAIM is having another seminar but this time using youtube as the discussion platform instead of twitter. Videos will also be shorter (2-5 minutes). Please check our youtube channel, twitter, and blog and join us in the conversation and campaign about what #RECLAIMis.