During the COVID-19 pandemic, biology educators were forced to think of ways to communicate with their students, engaging them in science and with the scientific community. For educators using course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs), the challenge to have students perform real science, analyze their work, and present their results to a larger scientific audience was difficult as the world moved online. Many instructors were able to adapt CUREs utilizing online data analysis and virtual meeting software for class discussions and synchronous learning. However, interaction with the larger scientific community, an integral component of making science relevant for students and allowing them to network with other young scientists and experts in their fields, was still missing. Even before COVID-19, a subset of students would travel to regional or national meetings to present their work, but most did not have these opportunities. With over 300 million active users, Twitter provided a unique platform for students to present their work to a large and varied audience. The Cell Biology Education Consortium hosted an innovative scientific poster session entirely on Twitter to engage undergraduate researchers with one another and with the much broader community. The format for posting on this popular social media platform challenged students to simplify their science and make their points using only a few words and slides. Nineteen institutions and over one hundred students participated in this event. Even though these practices emerged as a necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Twitter presentation strategy shared in this paper can be used widely.
Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education
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Reyna, Nathan S., Pruett, Christin, Morrison, Mike, Fowler, Jennifer, Pandey, Sumali, and Hensley, Lori L. "Twitter: More than Tweets for Undergraduate Student Researchers," Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education. (2022) Apr 25. doi:10.1128/jmbe.00326-21