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HigherEd 2.0: Using Social Media in Engineering Education

Event Date: September 12, 2013
Speaker: Ed Berger
Speaker Affiliation: Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Time: 3:30pm
Location: ARMS B071

Social media (blogs, wikis, video, and a digital authoring culture) has emerged in the last decade as a dominant feature of the technology landscape, especially for our current generation of digital-native students.  Leveraging these tools for higher education in general, and engineering education in particular, should be of immediate and pressing concern for engineering educators.  This talk summarizes the HigherEd 2.0 project, the creative convergence of higher education and “web 2.0” technologies into a system for education that: (i) deploys specific social media technologies to support student learning, (ii) leverages the efficiencies of those tools for flexible, customized learning, and (iii) promotes the social features of learning and empowers students to author sharable course materials for their peers.  This talk presents evaluation data about the project, including both qualitative and quantitative outcomes, and correlates student usage of the social media elements of the course with their academic performance.  This wide-ranging, multi-institution project holds interesting lessons and promising suggestions for using social media in higher education settings.

Edward Berger is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs at the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science, where he is also an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and teaches broadly in the engineering curriculum.  His research interests include disciplinary work on the nonlinear mechanics of joints and interfaces;  this work dates back to the mid-1990’s when he earned the PhD from the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue.  More recently, his research has also focused on two engineering education issues: (i) as an instructor, the use of social media for effective teaching, and (ii) as a School administrator, the emerging institutional research area of predictive models for student academic success.  Berger is one of the two mechanics-area leaders for the ASEE Faculty Virtual Community of Practice (VCP) project, and his work has been funded by NSF and others.  He lives in Charlottesville VA with his wife (also a Boilermaker, PhD ’98) and two sons.