Twitter and Higher Ed – Mark Morton

You’ve probably already heard about Twitter, a micro-blogging application that appeared in 2006 and which has surged in popularity over the past year. Oprah, for example, is now on Twitter, and CNN offers news updates via Twitter. Posts to Twitter (which are called tweets) are brief — no longer than 140 characters, which is perfect for sharing a quick update about what you’re doing or reading, for disseminating a web address to a useful site, or for asking your Twitter “followers” a question. Universities have also begun to use Twitter to good purpose. I’ve provided a complete list of university Twitter sites at the end of this post, but one in particular stands out as especially interesting. It’s TweetChicago, which is the official Twitter site for the University of Chicago Law School. What’s cool about TweetChicago is that on one page is presents the Twitter feeds of numerous faculty members, committee chairs, student council presidents, and so on, with the tweets appearing in thought-balloons beside a picture of the respective tweeters. The tweets range from those that are relevant to the study of Law (“I am unsurprised that Judge Easterbrook got the history right and yet, five years later, the Supreme Court got it completely wrong”) to the merely social (“Home from Brazil. We’ve got a pretty nice little Saturday planned: Home Depot and maybe Costco”). It would be interesting to recreate what TweetChicago has done for an undergraduate or graduate class, as an informal complement to that class’s online discussion group in UW-ACE. Would doing so help to foster collegiality among the students?

Here’s the link again to TweetChicago, followed by a list of Twitter sites at other universities.

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Mark Morton

As Senior Instructional Developer, Mark Morton helps instructors implement new educational technologies such as clickers, wikis, concept mapping tools, question facilitation tools, screencasting, and more. Prior to joining the Centre for Teaching Excellence, Mark taught for twelve years in the English Department at the University of Winnipeg. He received his PhD in 1992 from the University of Toronto, and is the author of four books: Cupboard Love; The End; The Lover's Tongue; and Cooking with Shakespeare.

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