Using Twitter as a pedagogical tool in two classrooms: a comparative case study between an education and a communication class

  • Tian LuoEmail author
  • Quan Xie


Extant literature on social media in education highlights the importance of improving social media-supported learning environments. This study adds to the literature by examining students’ perception and participation for three types of Twitter-based instrumental activities—backchanneling, exploring hashtags, and topics discussion—in two unique undergraduate classrooms (education vs. communication) over the period of a 14-week semester. By employing a comparative case study research design, this study revealed insights into how students may respond to the same Twitter classroom integration activities to a varying degree according to their differences in pre-class perceptions and behavioral patterns. We found that both classes manifested an overall positive attitude toward the integration of Twitter in class along with active participation. However, the communication students manifested a more favorable pre-perception of Twitter and showed a higher participation pattern in class. We also provide pedagogical implications and recommendations for instructors intending to apply or replicate the three instructional activities employed in this study.


Twitter Social media Undergraduate classroom Pedagogical use Comparative case study 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. The study done in the education class was approved by Office of Research Compliance from Ohio University and done in the communication was approved by Office of Research from Bradley University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of STEM Education and Professional Studies, Education Building #4106, Darden College of EducationOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Communication, Slane College of Communications and Fine ArtsBradley UniversityPeoriaUSA

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