R. Junco,* G. Heiberger† & E. Loken‡
*Lock Haven University, Lock Haven, PA 17745, USA†South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA‡The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
the currentstudy serves to extend previous research by using anexperimentaldesigntoexaminethecausallinkbetweeneducationally relevant social media use and studentengagement in a sample of American university stu-dents Methods
Seven sections of a one-credit ﬁrst-year seminar coursefor pre-health professional majors (students planningto apply to dental, chiropractic, medical, physicaltherapy, etc. schools) were used for the study. Four of the sections were randomly assigned to the experimen-tal group and three to the control group. The experi-mental group used Twitter as part of the class while thecontrol group did not (complete procedures describednext). None of the students used Twitter before partici-pating in this study. Both groups used Ning (http:// www.ning.com;a service that allows users to createtheir own social networking site) instead of a learningmanagement system as a regular part of the course.Students were asked to participate in the study bytaking a pre- and post-test (the survey containing theengagement instrument).
This study provides the ﬁrst piece of controlled experi-mental evidence that using Twitter in educationally rel-evant ways can increase student engagement andimprove grades, and thus, that social media can be usedas an educational tool to help students reach desiredcollegeoutcomes.Weprovidedevidencetosuggestthatstudents and faculty were both highly engaged in thelearning process through communication and connec-tionsonTwitter.Asthereiscontinuinggrowthintheuseof social media