Class twittering

For those who have wondered – as I have – whether the ‘micro-blog’ site Twitter could be used successfully in teaching, here’s a story that suggests that it could be. According to a report in the US Chronicle of Higher Education, Purdue University in Indiana has set up a program that allows student to ask questions in class by using Twitter on their computers or phones; they can even make their questions anonymous, for those who feel nervous about identifying themselves in case their question is considered stupid.

According to the report, others have tried it also, sometimes with mixed effects. It seems that the important requirement is that the lecturer needs to be forceful enough to stay in control, while also allowing the interaction with students to guide the content. However, as class attendance has become an increasingly difficult issue in universities all over the world, new techniques that might stimulate more interest could contribute to more participation.

Maybe this is worth trying in Ireland?

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5 Comments on “Class twittering”

  1. Jilly Says:

    So students can ask a question (and receive an answer), so long as it’s no more than 140 characters long? At university? Give me strength.

  2. kevin denny Says:

    Some people are using clicker technology in UCD so the lecturer can ask a question (“Was Karl Marx right?” say) and people can click yes/no/70% of the time etc. It seems to require the lecturer to lug a box of these things to class,distribute them, collect them at the end. Sounds like a lot of hassle.
    In general I am very wary about technology in class. Many students bring laptops to class & I am sure that a significant number are looking at Facebook and so on.
    There is a stock piece of footage that RTE use, when stories about fees come up, from a class in UCD where you can see a student playing cards on his laptop. I am the guy at the bottom of the theatre.

  3. Vincent Says:

    When attending lectures on the Concourse at UCG. I, for some reason was a left attender in the Cairns and the O’Fla. Right, in the Kirwin onwards. I’m a lefty generally in any church, chapel and when at a Planting in some graveyard.
    Now, my Dean of Arts -MAC CONGÁIL, An tOllamh Nollaig- advised me to Read Philosophy, Archaeology, History and Classical Civ’, which let’s be honest was not kind. But by Christ, when Paddy Ashdown -Jeremy John Durham Ashdown, Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon- came a calling, I would have to say it was useful.
    Now, granted I’m not the fastest of
    typists, but do you really want shots loaded by people like Paschal O’Gorman, Marcus Worner, Colm Luibhéid, M.A., Ph.D. (Princeton) and more history and diggers that I can name, landing into your inbox while I’m sitting in attendance just so I can rangefind. I’m with Jilly on this, if in Arts you are not training the little git’s to shoot things out of the water with 100 characters, you are training them to be lazy. And do you not think that it is a bit unkind for a Uni’Pres to unfurl something like this.

  4. Wendymr Says:

    So when the soon-to-be graduates have their first interview for a ‘real’ job, and they’re asked the question What strategies do you use when you’ve been assigned a task and you’re not sure what’s required, they can all praise the wonders of Twitter as a research tool.

    No wonder employers say many graduates lack basic employability skills…


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