A Tweet is a message posted on Twitter.com that appears immediately to all Twitter users who have chosen to follow the person who posted the message.
Tweets are limited to 140 characters. These short messages allow you to disseminate information, communicate in real time with large groups, and archive conversations. The required brevity can spark creativity as well as reduce the information stream into digestible amounts. Many websites have a Twitter button for quickly sharing resources with your Twitter followers.
Ready for some dynamic content in your course? Use a Twitter widget to integrate a feed of your own Tweets or the results of a Twitter search into your content. The feed is updated in real time, with new activity scrolling by as you watch. Even students without Twitter accounts can explore the feed content that interests them. Students can compose a Tweet at the bottom of the widget.
How To Embed a Twitter Widget in Your Course
- Log in to Twitter.
- Click the Settings icon and select Widgets.
- Click Create New.
- Select the User Timeline tab to publish your own Tweets in the widget. Alternatively, select Favorites, List, Search, or Collection. For example, select the Search tab and type #elearning in the query box. The widget displays the latest Tweets containing that hashhtag.
- Preview the widget and click Create Widget.
- Copy the code that appears below the Preview.
- In your Blackboard course, navigate to a content area or folder.
- Point to Build Content in the action bar and select Item.
- Give the item a name.
- In the content editor, select HTML Code View. In the pop-up window, paste the code.
- Click Update. The content editor shows a link.
- Click Submit. The content area displays the Twitter widget with an automatically updating list of Tweets.
You can also create a Blank Page in your course menu and embed the Twitter widget there.
Why Use Twitter as an Academic?
Use Twitter's Getting Started Guide to learn the basics. Once you are comfortable, consider extending your Twitter use with some of these ideas.
|Global Faculty Lounge||Network with other education professionals and institutions across the world. Ask for advice, benefit from others’ experience, and keep up with trends in your field.|
|Publicize Your Work||Promote your journal articles and other endeavors.|
|Share Links||Links shared on Twitter.com are automatically shortened to a http://t.co link. A URL of any length will be altered to 22 characters, even if the link itself is less than 22 characters long. This helps users keep message length within the 140 character limit.|
|Backchannel Communication||Students engage in real-time discussion while they watch an event from different locations. For example, students watch a political debate while having a play-by-play discussion on Twitter. When students add an event hashtag to their Tweets, anyone can run a Twitter search to review all the backchannel Tweets related to that event.|
|Build Community with a Class Hashtag||Extending discussion on Twitter can build community and encourage students to seek instant answers from their peers. Invent a hashtag for your course—search for your potential hashtag in Twitter and see if it already exists. View activity for that hashtag by typing it in the Twitter search box.|
|Tweets as a Study Guide||In-class tweeting with hashtags gives students the opportunity to refer back to what was said in class. After small group discussion, students tweet relevant points so they are available to the entire class.|
|Help Students Build Professional Networks||Students can start following and connecting with target companies before graduation.|
|Engage With a Public Figure||Try tweeting a public figure or industry expert – students are likely to get a response.|
|Increase Engagement||Large classes that use Twitter can broaden participation in lectures where there is simply not enough time for everyone to speak. Some students feel more comfortable tweeting than speaking out in class.|
|Pre-Class Discussion Prompts||Students tweet questions or comments on assigned readings before class and the Twitter stream for that hashtag is used to generate discussion in class.|
|Clarity of Expression||Though distilling a meaningful response into 140 characters is challenging, such a tight character limit can spark creativity.|
|Historical or Literary Character Impersonation||Use Twitter to get students into character as famous historical or literary figures by asking them to tweet as that person.|
Katherine Linzy | Office of Technology Services | University of Evansville | Evansville, Indiana | www.evansville.edu