Earlier in September, several of us met as part of the monthly DDI Twitter program brown bag lunch discussion series. One of the overall goals of the program is to encourage a few faculty members to actively use Twitter in their courses, but another goal is to have meaningful discussions among interested faculty on academic uses of Twitter.
After introductions, I provided a list of potential uses of Twitter in a course (below). We discussed everyone’s ideas for using Twitter, which ranged from trying out Twitter in a language class to tweeting as an entire discipline to develop its community. Attendees were concerned about privacy, as far as FERPA and HIPAA, and representing the university as an institution. Attendees expressed a need for Duke to have an explcit social media policy, without stifling its use. Despite perceived complications, there was a lot of excitement about potential for spontaneous student participation, particularly from those who are more introverted. I also demonstrated two Twitter clients for following a large volume of tweets, Tweetdeck for the desktop and the web-based Tweetgrid. Two additional discussions sessions have already been scheduled for this fall, so you can register now.
- Polling each student within class
- Participating in a class “back channel,” which would consist of lecture summaries, commentary and questions
Use cases for which a portion, but not all, of students would have access to a mobile device or other computer during class:
- Tweeting in groups of 3 to 5 students where the tweets reflect the group consensus following a discussion
Use cases for which students would have access to a mobile device, laptop or desktop machine outside of class:
- Students could receive information tweeted by the instructor and/or teaching stafff on course administrative issues and reminders.
- Students could receive tweets from the instructor and/or the teaching staff on course related topics.
- Students may tweet containing links to course related research.
- Students may tweet reflections on course materials and course related topics.
- Students may search for tweets using course related keywords or follow relevant #hashtags (e.g. #iranelection)
- Students may follow experts in the course discipline or pertinent public figures.
- Students may use Twitter to conduct interviews with one or more followers.
- Students may tweet notes from course readings.
- Students may tweet field observations or lab results.
- Students participating in service learning could communicate from a remote location and record observations or reflections.
- Both students participating in remote service learning or study abroad could use Twitter to maintain a connection with their classmates or advisers on campus.
- Foreign language students may tweet in the course language and follow Tweeters from their respective countries.
- Students may tweet to request help from classmates, the instructor or teaching staff.
- Students may tweet creatively, taking advantage of the 140 character limit in order to condense a large idea into a brief statement (e.g. literary works, world religions described in a single tweet)
- Students may do research using tweets as data.