Twitter in (and out of) the Lecture Hall

One of my first blog posts was titled “The Death of Discussion Boards.”  After using online discussions, for a while, I gave up after fatigue on the part of both me and my students.  Students complained about participating and frequently did not read other’s posts.  It seemed more like a blog than anything interactive.  I used them originally to create a sense of discussion in an electronic forum, but I had lost that feeling.  I had never used Twitter before, but became interested in the possibility after attending a conference presentation in 2007.  At the time there weren’t great answers as to how exactly to use Twitter, but Twitter users had excitement.  After lurking, I decided to try it around discussion of a single topic in a class.  I then slowly expanded my use in different classes and more broadly.  Some of the issues I confronted were: How do you get students Tweeting? Should everyone be required to Tweet? What is a reasonable expectation for Tweets? How do you handle offensive content that is posted? How do you grade it? What is a good class size? Should you follow students? Should Twitter be for in and out of class?

As I gained experience in using Twitter in and out of the lecture hall I arrived at some of my own insights on these and other questions, and look forward to discussing this with both students and lecturers alike this week on @WeSpeechies.

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