Twitter Uses For Distance Learning

From a recent report to Hofstra University’s Distance Learning department

Twitter’s communication features make it a natural fit for distance learning instructors alike. What follows is a list that shows why…

1. Twitter as newsfeed, to increase University/department brand awareness.
Distance Learning departments could incorporate Twitter as a newsfeed to promote department, new classes, class updates, registration, deadlines, etc.

2. Ability to “Blast” a message to large or specific groups.
Alerts or communications could immediately be posted from teacher to group, student to group, administrator to instructor, etc. giving a user the ability to report system problems; distribute a group notice, (schedule change, course error(s), etc..

3. “Hashtags”(#) allow the creation of specific groups and communities
Twitter hashtags (#) define a topic or group, giving students ability to easily interact around a specific course or assignment.

4. Instant feedback and instructor/group interaction in real time
Twitter’s interactivity helps students work easily together on projects/assignments. Instructor can participate in group discussions and promptly respond to questions.

5. Listening to student groups
User ability to listen to dialogues, without participation. Instructor can monitor student discussions and tweets to review proper understanding of class or lesson.

6. Private direct message (DM) for an individual or instructor.
Twitter’s direct message feature gives users private, one on one communication, important for instructors and students alike.

7. Remote usage via mobile phones
140 character tweet limit opens mobile phones to send and receive texts. “Follower” lists can be defined by user to restrict number of incoming tweets and save on text charges The growing number of specialized remote Twitter apps adds to the ease of mobile usage.

Obviously, this is only the beginning. As distance learning students and instructors begin to employ Twitter, new uses will continue to be developed.

Note: After the completion of this article, I learned that Purdue University has started a social networking-powered mobile web app, incorporating Twitter, Facebook and mobile phones.

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2 Responses to Twitter Uses For Distance Learning

  1. Ron Chalmers says:

    Bill,
    Thanks for collaborating/brainstorming with me on this. Hofstra students use Twitter all the time and now, in several courses, we have faculty using it as well to communicate with their students.

    The days of lecturing for 50 minutes are gone and professors need to step up to social networking as an effective way to communicate with students.

    Keep up the good work.
    Ron Chalmers
    Manager, Instructional Design Team
    Hofstra University

  2. battleblogger says:

    My pleasure. In this new year, it will be exciting to see higher education continue to adapt social media strategies.

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