UT Dallas History Course Uses Twitter as Study Aid

Kim Smith, a graduate student in emerging media and communication at UT Dallas, produced this case study of Twitter use in Dr. Monica Rankin’s US history course:

Students find themselves checking the feed after hours because the public trail of Twitter chatter doubles as an excellent study aid. As one student from Rankin’s class put it, “The significant terms that we’ve talked about in discussions, we’ll tweet that, and you can [go] back [to] that, and it’s a pretty good study aid.” This, in turn, keeps Twitter on their minds, fueling the cycle of involvement.

In Some General Comments on the Twitter Experiment, Dr. Rankin offers her thoughts on the project.

Pace of comments and juggling multiple topics:

By the time a comment was posted and students had a chance to respond to it, several other tweets had gone up and new ideas had been introduced. I suspect that this bothered me more than it bothered the students. I tend to think and process information in a much more structural manner. Most of the students (in their world of intense multi-tasking) seemed completely capable of following several streams of thought at one time.

Increasing student engagement:

Overall, I think the twitter experiment was successful primarily because it encouraged students to engage who otherwise would not. Even in smaller classes, only a small number of students actively participate in class discussions. Students knew that their class participation grade would be partially determined by their involvement in these discussions and most of them seemed comfortable with using the technology to engage with the reading materials.

(Via Natalie Petouhoff)

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