This type of interaction helps today’s learner engage with the content, the professor and other students within the classroom, and continues the discussion outside of class.
This is why I have chosen to use Twitter as a form of teaching and learning. I chose Twitter because it is the most real-time and discussion-like social media platform.
A study showed that tweeting students get higher grades. It also reported that students who live tweet classes practice distilling and reporting highlights and key points from the lecture or discussion. This improves students’ understanding and memorization while making the classroom more transparent and connected.
The problem with Twitter’s immediacy is that it creates an opportunity for people to tweet without fully considering what they’re writing. This may introduce false information into the stream, spreading ignorance instead of information.
Keyboard courage is another concern. People may feel confident in tweeting negative things they would not say aloud, thereby impeding the learning environment and making for a negative, suppressive educational experience.
It is in the spirit of the full marketplace of ideas that I write these classroom social media policies. The marketplace of ideas encourages and supports diverse opinions. You must respect others’ rights to their opinions, even if you don’t agree with them. I strongly support students’ First Amendment rights and encourage all views and opinions in the classroom, so long as they do not hinder another students’ ability to learn. As Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
1. Use the hashtag
Please always use the class hashtag in your class-related tweets. This will assist in creating an online learning community. If you don’t know the hashtag, it can be found in your course syllabus.
2. Be transparent
Use your real name, making you responsible for the words you post.
3. Think notes
Tweet as if you are writing your notes for the class. What are the key points that are important for you to remember?
4. Quote correctly
If you quote people in your tweets, either use their names as attribution or include their Twitter handle.
5. Use links
Link to online information you think adds to the course materials.
6. Be truthful
If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, state it.
7. Spread knowledge, not ignorance
Only write about things you know for sure or those which are cited as your opinion. If you don’t know that something is true, say so.
8. Make no assumption of privacy
Never put anything online that you wouldn’t want the world to see, even if you think that information is protected. Remember that future employers could see the things you’re posting as part of this class. Pause before you post.
9. Use your manners
Play nice. Remember that live tweeting class is meant to be an act of positive engagement and learning. It is not an invitation to post negative things about your classmates. You must always debate facts and avoid personal attacks and derogatory remarks, especially those that may create legal concerns.
10. Don’t overshare
Post only items relevant to class. Discussion of things unrelated to the topic is discouraged. Private or “inside” jokes also are discouraged. Believe me, the world doesn’t want to know if I am lecturing with lipstick on my teeth.
It’s acceptable and encouraged to interact with myself and other students using the class hashtag. In fact, this is the spirit of the online learning community. However, please make sure the engagement also is relevant.
12. Add value
Use the class hashtag outside of class to continue discussions and share course-related items of interest. Avoid using Twitter as a way to contact me about items specific to your personal education. Use a richer form of media for these discussions.
I hope you find these policies helpful in guiding your class-based approach to using Twitter. If you have questions or concerns, please contact me via email or let’s discuss them in person.