Twitter in (and out of) the Lecture Hall

twitter logo with two people facing each other and holding mobile devices

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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