Integrating Twitter into an undergraduate medical curriculum: lessons for the future

Annalisa Manca, Natalie Lafferty, Evridiki Fioratou, Alisdair Smithies, Eleanor J. Hothersall

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    There is increasing interest in employing social media tools for educational purposes, but few mature frameworks exist within Higher Education contexts. We present a case study discussing the pedagogic implications of using the social media tool Twitter to facilitate a learning activity as part of a public health theme of the undergraduate medical programme at The University of Dundee - #fluscenario. Whilst adopting Twitter to support novel learning activities led to a rich communication process and co-creation of knowledge, students themselves did not recognise this. Furthermore students viewed these learning activities as gimmicky and did not appreciate the wider affordances of Twitter in supporting networked learning. We argue that designing good educational activities is not always a "constructive" activity but sometimes we need to "deconstruct" what already exists in order to make sense of it. We will use Albert Bandura's social learning theory concepts and self-efficacy notion to analyse this case-study and discuss how a sound educational design can enhance self-efficacy. We will also consider "cognitive load", which is increased exponentially in an online activity as students not only have to deal with the learning content, but also with "satellite" elements such as online professionalism, digital literacy, learning a new tool and new communication system. Through our reflections educators can determine common educational uses and affordances, assess the educational value of the use of technology and social media in teaching, and identify the social and cognitive components they involve. Additional objectives are to identify learning design and scaffolding strategies that engage students and consider strategies to elucidate processes of learning in online social networks, which have a critical role in online approaches to learning.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the European Conference on e-Learning, ECEL
    PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Print)9781910309674
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


    • Higher education
    • Learning design
    • Medical education
    • Self-efficacy
    • Social learning theory
    • Twitter

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Computer Science(all)
    • Education


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