Paku, L. & Lay, M.C. (2011). Using Twitter to enhance reflective practice on work placements. In 2011 AAEE Conference, Fremantle, December 5-7 2011, (pp. 639-344). Fremantle, Australia.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/6958
Reflective practice is an essential engineering skill for life-long learning. However, most engineering students regard reflective practice as an onerous chore and do not find any value in doing it. Previous research for trainee teachers on practicum showed that microblogging (e.g Twitter) is a helpful tool for encouraging reflective practice. Tweets are kept short to 140 characters forcing students to be concise. Because large amounts of text are not required, it is easy for students to blog about their experiences and give and receive feedback. Twitter can be accessed by SMS from mobile phones as well as through the internet. A cohort of 12 volunteers were obtained from third to fourth year mechanical, materials process and biochemical engineering students. These students created private Twitter accounts using pseudonyms and were given training in using Twitter. Participants were instructed not to reveal information that was commercially sensitive. Students were encouraged to tweet once a day on the following: What are you doing? What are you learning? What would you like to learn? What equipment/software are you using? Are you having any difficulties? And what are you enjoying? Tweets were visible to all involved in the project and the researchers and participants were able to give feedback, support, and prompting questions. Tweets were analysed for common themes, how well students were supporting each other, and how much integration between placement and university knowledge appeared to be occurring. Participants were interviewed after their placements to ascertain their views on Twitter and reflective practice. Findings show that students used Twitter regularly. They shared information,gave each other support and commented on what they were doing from day to day. The work placement coordinators could see what the students were doing and give support and feedback
Australasian Association for Engineering Education