A Twitter Challenge in Electrical Engineering

Dieser Artikel erschien ursprünglich im Mai 2017 auf https://www.openeducationeuropa.eu/en/case-study/twitter-challenge-electrical-engineering, ist dort aber mittlerweile nicht mehr verfügbar. Deshalb wird er hier noch mal originalgetreu (und damit in englischer Sprache) wiedergegeben.

After the winter term 2016/2017, we have done a „Twitter Challenge“ in electrical engineering. The idea was do like a „Math Olympiad“ for the better half of the students during the semester break, but not with some selected students in a classroom, instead open for all via Twitter.

The rules were simple:

  • we have published a quite challenging task in the field of electrical engineering
  • the person who first twitters the correct answer to our Twitter account (@LehrstuhlEMV, https://twitter.com/LehrstuhlEMV) with some certain hashtag (#feitchallenge, https://twitter.com/search?q=%23feitchallenge) wins
  • eligible is every students of our university that has not yet passed the exam in fundamentals of electrical engineering
  • all available software tools are permitted (internet, Google, Wolfram Alpha, MATLAB, LTspice, Octave, …)
  • to avoid a guess of the answer, every students has only three trials for the correct answer, that has to be within 0.1% accuracy
  • we will not publish the answer, if there is no correct answer from the students
  • we offered nice prices (USB headset, Bluetooth speaker, screwdrivers, cups) sponsored from some company

What we were afraid about:

  • There will be no participation at all.
  • There will be a huge participation and we will not be able to control is anymore.
  • Someone else (e.g. a professional from outside the university) would spoiler the answers.

All this did not happen. What happened instead is:

  • We have done the challenge with 4 tasks.
  • There was one student participating that answered all 4 questions, sometimes after just half an hour, sometimes after two days.

Our conclusion:

  • It was a nice try and it truly generated some publicity.
  • Even if there was only one student actively participating, I have heard about lots of other students discussing about the tasks, problems, usable software etc. in the semester break (and so in their free time).
  • Lots of students told us that they don’t use Twitter, don’t have a Twitter account, won’t setup an account just for the challenge, etc.
    The question is, would any other social network like Facebook be more appropriate. Then the question is, if students would also use their „private“ account for more or less „public“ study stuff (or is this considered to be „uncool“?).