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Twitter as a Tool for Teaching and Communicating Microbiology: The #microMOOCSEM Initiative

    Authors: Ignacio López-Goñi1,*, Ma José Martínez-Viñas2, Josefa Antón3, Víctor J. Cid4, Ana Martín González5, Maryury Brown-Jaque6, Juan M. García-Lobo7, Manuel Sánchez8, Juan Ignacio Vilchez9, Tatiana Robledo-Mahón9, Marina Seder-Colomina10, Silvana Teresa Tapia-Paniagua11, Alma Hernández de Rojas12, Alejandro Mira13, José Jesús Gallego-Parrilla14, Teresa María López Díaz15, Sergi Maicas i Prieto16, Eduardo Villalobo17, Guillermo Quindós18, Sabela Balboa19, Jesús L. Romalde19, Clara Aguilar-Pérez20, Anna Tomás21, María Linares22, Óscar Zaragoza23, Jéssica Gil-Serna5, Raquel Ferrer-Espada1, Ana I. Camacho1, Laura Vinué24, Jorge García-Lara25
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain; 2: Secció Departamental de Microbiología, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; 3: Departamento de Fisiología, Genética y Microbiología, Universidad de Alicante, Alicante, Spain; 4: Departamento de Microbiología II, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain; 5: Departamento de Microbiología III, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain; 6: Departamento de Genética, Microbiología y Estadística, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; 7: Instituto de Biotecnología y Biomedicina de Cantabria, Santander, Spain; 8: Departamento de Producción Vegetal y Microbiología, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Elche, Spain; 9: Instituto del Agua, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain; 10: Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire, Fontenay-aux-Roses, France; 11: Departamento de Microbiología, Universidad de Málaga, Málaga, Spain; 12: Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Gijón, Gijón, Spain; 13: Centro Superior de Investigación en Salud Pública, Fundación FISABIO, Valencia, Spain; 14: Grupo de Docencia y Difusión de la Microbiología, Sociedad Española de Microbiología, Spain; 15: Departamento Higiene y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Universidad de León, León, Spain; 16: Departament de Microbiologia i Ecologia, Universitat de València, Valencia, Spain; 17: Departamento de Microbiología, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain; 18: Departamento de Inmunología, Microbiología y Parasitología, Facultad de Medicina y Enfermería, Universidad País Vasco, Bilbao, Spain; 19: Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Universidad Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; 20: Departamento de Microbiología, Medicina Preventiva y Salud Publica, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain; 21: Departamento de Microbiología, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; 22: Hospital Doce de Octubre-CNIO, Madrid, Spain; 23: Servicio de Micología, Centro Nacional de Microbiología, ISCIII, Madrid, Spain; 24: Division of Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; 25: School of Medicine, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 02 December 2016
    • ©2016 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Supplemental materials available at http://asmscience.org/jmbe
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Universidad de Navarra, C/ Irunlarrea n∘ 1, 31008, Pamplona, Spain. Phone: +34 948 425600. E-mail: ilgoni@unav.es.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 492-494. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1200
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    Abstract:

    Online social networks are increasingly used by the population on a daily basis. They are considered a powerful tool for science communication and their potential as educational tools is emerging. However, their usefulness in academic practice is still a matter of debate. Here, we present the results of our pioneering experience teaching a full Basic Microbiology course via Twitter (#microMOOCSEM), consisting of 28 lessons of 40-45 minutes duration each, at a tweet per minute rate during 10 weeks. Lessons were prepared by 30 different lecturers, covering most basic areas in Microbiology and some monographic topics of general interest (malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, etc.). Data analysis on the impact and acceptance of the course were largely affirmative, promoting a 330% enhancement in the followers and a >350-fold increase of the number of visits per month to the Twitter account of the host institution, the Spanish Society for Microbiology. Almost one third of the course followers were located overseas. Our study indicates that Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) via Twitter are highly dynamic, interactive, and accessible to great audiences, providing a valuable tool for social learning and communicating science. This strategy attracts the interest of students towards particular topics in the field, efficiently complementing customary academic activities, especially in multidisciplinary areas like Microbiology.

Key Concept Ranking

Tuberculosis
0.53571427
Malaria
0.5069971
0.53571427

References & Citations

1. Bista K2015Is Twitter a pedagogical tool in higher education? Perspectives of education graduate studentsJ Scholarship Teach Learn158310210.14434/josotl.v15i2.12825 http://dx.doi.org/10.14434/josotl.v15i2.12825
2. Gagnon K2015Using Twitter in health professional education: a case studyJ Allied Health44253325743398
3. Hennessy CM, Kirkpatrick E, Smith CF, Border S2016Social media and anatomy education: using Twitter to enhance the student learning experience in anatomyAnat Sci Educ[Epub ahead of print]10.1002/ase.161027059811 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ase.1610
4. Junco R, Elavsky CM, Heiberger G2013Putting Twitter to the test: assessing outcomes for student collaboration, engagement and successBr J Educ Tech4427328710.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01284.x http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01284.x
5. Kassens-Noor E2012Twitter as a teaching practice to enhance active and informal learning in higher education: the case of sustainable tweetsActive Learn High Educ1392110.1177/1469787411429190 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1469787411429190
6. Rinaldo SB, Tapp S, Laverie DA2011Learning by tweeting: using Twitter as a pedagogical toolJ Market Educ20111
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1200
2016-12-02
2017-10-21

Abstract:

Online social networks are increasingly used by the population on a daily basis. They are considered a powerful tool for science communication and their potential as educational tools is emerging. However, their usefulness in academic practice is still a matter of debate. Here, we present the results of our pioneering experience teaching a full Basic Microbiology course via Twitter (#microMOOCSEM), consisting of 28 lessons of 40-45 minutes duration each, at a tweet per minute rate during 10 weeks. Lessons were prepared by 30 different lecturers, covering most basic areas in Microbiology and some monographic topics of general interest (malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, etc.). Data analysis on the impact and acceptance of the course were largely affirmative, promoting a 330% enhancement in the followers and a >350-fold increase of the number of visits per month to the Twitter account of the host institution, the Spanish Society for Microbiology. Almost one third of the course followers were located overseas. Our study indicates that Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) via Twitter are highly dynamic, interactive, and accessible to great audiences, providing a valuable tool for social learning and communicating science. This strategy attracts the interest of students towards particular topics in the field, efficiently complementing customary academic activities, especially in multidisciplinary areas like Microbiology.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

Number of Twitter daily impressions during the time that the course was active. Impressions refer to the number of times that users visualized a particular tweet with the hashtag #microMOOCSEM. Peaks coincide with broadcasting days. During the time that the course was active, the Twitter account of the SEM received a total of 4,420,172 impressions and over 175,000 visits. SEM = Spanish Society for Microbiology.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 492-494. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1200
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Number of questions correctly answered. Data from 68 questions are included. The results show the percentage of followers (virtual students) who answered correctly. More than 90% of virtual students correctly answered 16 questions, and more than 50% correctly answered 62 questions. None of the questions had a 100% failure score.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 492-494. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1200
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