So instead of making my students answer questions about church history I have set up an assignment option that allows them to live-tweet their church history reading. I got the idea from here. I love it because it provides a back channel to enhance the students reading and ups their engagement. I can also answer questions in real-time, or post links related to the chapter they are currently reading.
You can follow my students by searching Twitter for #GNS211!
Here’s a sample of how its going so far:
This is what I put in my syllabus:
Twitter interaction: The social media site Twitter has been gaining tremendous currency in the academic world as an instrument for sharing information, addressing issues in one’s particular field, and networking. As such, it has achieved acclaim for its use as a pedagogical tool to extend the work of the classroom. We are going to use Twitter in this course as a complement to the analytical work of the class.
Your Twitter activity will take place outside of class. You will be required to tweet a minimum of four times per week. The only guidelines for tweets are: 1) they must have something to do with the textbook (i.e. a response to the reading, a link to a related article, a useful principle or a great quote from Church history, a question, etc.); 2) they must be substantive; and 3) they must be diverse (i.e., you can’t tweet 40 quotes, or ask 40 questions); and 4) they must be respectful. In addition to reading your tweets on a regular basis, I will be using an online archiving tool to keep track of Twitter activity.
You must use the hashtag #GNS211 in your tweets so that they register as part of our class discussion. Any tweets that do not incorporate this hashtag will not be counted, because the website will not record their activity.
You can find a shared space for all of our tweets here: http://n5t.co/BiYE. Here are some other possible hashtags to include: #quote (include person’s name from church history as well as a hashtag); #question; #DoomedToRepeat; #ChurchHistory; #ParadeOfFaithfulness.
This Twitter activity will be graded on a pass/fail basis. If you tweet the requisite number of times (4 tweets per week X 10 weeks = 40 total tweets), then you will receive an A for this assignment. If not, you will receive an F.
Follow me (@Joshua_Chalmers) and the other members of the class, and be sure to interact with your fellow student’s tweets.
I will hold a Twitter tutorial on the first day of class to answer any questions you might have.
Are you or is someone you know using Twitter as a teaching tool? Let us know in the comments!