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Twitter and (University) Students

April 23, 2010

I use Twitter to collect ideas and know-how on using the web in teaching, especially the Thursday night #lrnchats – they’re fun.

Recently a former student asked me about whether I was using Twitter in my teaching. I had just discovered some of the benefits and pleasures of following and being followed by students.

Here’s a slightly altered version of what I told her (images added):

Originally I avoided having students follow me on Twitter, but when a former student asked to follow me, I’d follow them back. Then I got a second course – teaching scripting for documentary podcasts – and several students from previous Oral Rhetoric courses who had already been following me on Twitter signed up for my second course. I didn’t actually use Twitter as part of my course, but seeing the Twitter comments of some of my current students was fun and informative.

Student Tweet

I also got some unsolicited positive feedback from a student from several years ago –

PositiveStudentTweet

And I found out, through a tweeted link, what one former student was doing in her business and civic life –

The Star article on Julie Tyrios

As a result, I have relaxed about having students, even current ones, follow me.

At this point, I don’t plan on requiring students to use Twitter, but I might incorporate it a bit more in future courses, but only if I think it will add to what they’re learning. Probably I’ll just show them how to use hashtags, and then create one for the course that they can use, if they want to. I’ll have to be careful not to have information only on Twitter, so that those who don’t Tweet won’t miss anything important.

Connecting on Twitter with students too – that’s fun!

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