Using Twitter for Class Participation

Sheila Roy

Author: Sheila Roy

Date: Wed, 2016-09-21 13:27

Class participation in management schools is an oft-used means of student engagement. By and large, all management models and frameworks have room for interpretation when viewed from different contexts. Participation draws the students into a conversation through which the topic being taught can be analysed in various real life contextual settings.

Now, most will agree that young learners are social media natives. And they live by the ‘omni-channel’ mantra of  ‘the party continues online’….just like the dance, the music, the conversation in a party continues through photographs, comments, smileys and emoticons. So, is it possible to extend class participation beyond the square class walls and semicircular seating arrangements and make the learning process ‘omni-channel’? Is it possible to engage students in conversations such that engagement beyond the classroom is not only about assignments and projects but about sharing interesting content related to the subject and thus enhancing the learning process. 

So as is the flavour of everything digital, an experiment is worth a try. The experiment did have a precedence in a digital marketing course wherein students were graded on the content and virality of their tweets.

In my course, ‘E-business - Logistics and Fulfillment’, which I taught earlier in this year, the objective was slightly different. My course was about a topic that was (and still is) a whirlpool of exciting developments. A large number of startups were focusing on addressing the last mile problem for e-commerce businesses and an equal number were focused on improving the efficiencies in the logistics and fulfillment industry. Fresh ideas and new ventures were being reported almost daily.

Students were requested to search for news items or white papers that they found interesting and tweet the links with the hashtag #lfmeb.  Of course, not all students had a twitter account. Therefore the participation on twitter was not made mandatory. But students who did have an account seemed to be following their classmates' twitter handles as well, which worked well for the retweet process. Students were asked to search twitter for #lfmeb everyday and read what their classmates had tweeted. By the fourth  session, half of  the class were well onto it.

I did make it a point to read up all the articles tweeted before the start of class, and retweet them. That’s when it dawned on me that many of the articles that had been tweeted were conversation starters in class.  So each day, I would refer to these articles at the start of the class to stress on some of the points that were discussed in the previous classes. And, we all got to discuss contemporary applications and challenges.

Over time, what I realised was that the students and I had catalogued a large number of articles related to E-business logistics and fulfillment. It was an easy way to curate current news items and share with participants beyond the classroom as well, i.e. by just searching for the hashtag #lfmeb on twitter, anyone interested could access the information. There was no need to create a shared drive or blog to curate it.  We had managed to crowdsource the content for the next course run.

Was the experiment a success? I think so. It sparked discussions on contemporary issues which was the goal. It helped curate the interesting few and improved the content for my future class. And of course, It helped me increase my twitter followers.

@drsheilaroy

 

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Brilliant idea Shaila Maam. There are good teachers and there are excellent ones. Difference is, if one can strike a chord with their students. And changing times demand innovative ways to do this. Leveraging technology and new mediums to strike that chord is a great idea. Twitter has been used here to share the links and what has happened in all this tweeting is, students were better prepared for the class with not just the bookish knowledge but also with, what is happening in the world around about the subject that they would be learning that day. This is definitely a real, all-round learning of the subject, coupled with staying relevant. Twitter in another sense when used to summarize a class can also be a great tool to sharpen the understanding, because tweet length matters. This will bring out the depth of ones subject knowledge in keeping the tweet concise.

Dear Madam, this is an innovative idea of knowledge sharing and peer learning. In our classroom discussions, apart from learning the subject matter we get to know the application and nuances of the subject in the industry as we have class full of participants from varying backgrounds and rich experience. So, to be able to extrapolate the same learning with extensive discussion by sharing articles along with their thoughts, definitely, adds a lot of value to the entire learning experience. We too had a similar experience wherein one of our subjects, out faculty had the discussions going on using WhatsApp messenger where there was an informal discussion session pertaining to the topics being discussed in class. Many articles are being shared by both the faculty and the participants, as reading the articles and the reports always help in bridging the gap between the classroom learning to the industry context. Another advantage of having this kind of discussion, I believe, is that the faculty or the facilitator gets a feedback from the participants regarding the subject matter delivery. Here, I would like to take the opportunity to point out some more advantages of using tweets and hashtags. As some classes have large number of participants and the duration is limited, everyone is not able to convey his/her ideas. So, extending the discussions to the social media is, definitely, benefiting the participant in terms of logistics. The 140-character limit of a tweet helps the participants to summarize their learning in the message. The platform also helps the faculty to give instant feedback on discussions happening among the participants, because the hashtags would help the faculty to locate the ongoing discussions.

I agree with the writer that evolution of technology may be tapped to have meaningful discussions of subjects beyond the classroom. For example, twitter can be leveraged to discuss perspectives of participants, enabling professors to have information ready for the next class. Hence, expectations of the participants as well as the faculty are set for the upcoming session. The writer, who is also a professor of a prestigious program has experimented upon this idea of using twitter to have discussions beyond class and believes achieving reasonable success. Today’s generation is social-media savvy and spends on an average 4 hours per day on social media. Some consider this extreme level of consumption of information and portray it as an adverse phenomenon. However, it is important to understand that this has been a mindset change that has gradually evolved over the years, owing to greater disposable income and cheap availability of technology and consumption material. Can we imagine spending an hour without logging into Instagram or twitter? The world is at a cusp of digital revolution and thus, we need to get used to this shift in the paradigm of mindset and adapt. The need is to create opportunities that can be extrapolated well into an academic setup as well. This adoption assumes more significance for MBA studies wherein participants are groomed as future leaders. A leader must be collaborative, be all ears to the diverse perspective of people around and must be able to communicate his ideas effectively. In order to achieve this, taking such effective and sustainable steps of leveraging social media for a fruitful discussion helps in the constraints of time in a classroom. Classroom can help till a point. Discussions need to be extended beyond it, to make them part of our daily life interactions thus grooming us for our future. The attempt of the writer towards this change is commendable!

Thank you, ma'am, for such an innovative idea. I could totally relate this piece to what would be an award-winning suggestion in the course of ‘Design Thinking’. The core of a management degree lies in peer learning through class participation wherein students analyse the topic using real life examples. Also, we know that our generation is social media savvy and want to be omnipresent. The author has struck a perfect combination of both the requirements in designing a management course. Using twitter will not only fulfil the social media needs of the young learners but will also provide a metric for students’ class participation. Additional advantages of using twitter handle would be increased traction for the course and the institute, live content development for future reference, concise representation of views in 140 words, and discussion points for the next class. External point of view, if any, would enrich the topic further. However, the question arises whether we are evolved enough to implement such measures as a part of the curriculum. I think the basic infrastructure required for this implementation is available and, if implemented it will revolutionize the learning process.

Dear Ma'am, I totally agree with your idea of students engagement (in the form of tweeting) beyond the classroom which helps in enhancing the learning process. Twitter has been heralded as a podium that connects the world in real time, with more than 140 million active users posting roughly 400 million Tweets daily. Meanwhile, there are some college educators who blame Twitter for a decline in student attention spans and for adversely impacting students' abilities to think and write. • I believe Twitter benefits students in building affiliations, nurtures students' connections with each other, and allow them to create meaning through sustained communication. • Researches have substantiated that students who use Twitter for academic motives gain the ability to write succinctly, stay up to date on current research, and also benefit from connecting with academic experts directly. • Students can use Twitter to enquire and rejoin questions, brainstorm, focus or extend in-class discussions, help students connect, collaboratively generate information, and learn concise writing styles. Apart from these, Twitter has business benefits too: • Increase brand cognizance • Keep up with the latest trends in your industry • Endorse your blog content, videos, presentations, etc. • Boost your website SEO • Drive website traffic • Get prompt feedback about your products and/or services • Increase the scope and influence of your PR initiatives • Support your recruiting exertions by connecting directly with prospective employees • Gain direct access to high profile individuals

A brilliant read highlighting social media and the benefits derived from harnessing the true potential of it. However, social media in this day and age is considered to be more of a bane than a boon due to all the flak it has been receiving for acting as a medium to propagate violence and other acts of evil. Having said that, such instances as stated in this blog does help reinstil a sense of faith on this medium. Taking a cue from Professor Roy’s blog, I would like to narrate a similar exercise which was (maybe still is) being followed in my previous college. While pursuing my masters degree from an erstwhile institute located in Mumbai, a certain professor who taught us the subject of e-commerce followed a rather bizarre approach towards maintaining class participation. Proxy attendance of absent students was a major problem faced by this professor on a daily basis and he thought of a rather ingenious / bizarre idea to combat this issue. Prior to the start of every lecture, a random Whatsapp group used to be created by this professor with the inclusion of all the students onto it (which was a good 90 odd students).Post this exercise, which took a little of 5 minutes, he would commence his lecture. At the end of each lecture, each student in this newly formed group had to mandatorily post a selfie picture of them in a designated spot in the classroom which used to vary from lecture to lecture and was decided by this professor in advance. This exercise, as bizarre as it sounds drastically reduced the absenteeism percentage let alone the proxy issue. Thus, to sum it all up, Innovation is the need of the hour and one need’s to pivot with time and think out of the box or he/she will definitely perish.

This is indeed a good read. The idea of exchanging knowledge is no more bounded within the four walls of the classroom and it never should have been so. The advent of technology has enabled us to create an ecosystem of knowledge sharing that currently caters to a good number of students (read students for life). The idea is to immerse students into the purpose of learning and engaging the generation to create and communicate the knowledge on platforms where they are most comfortably. This pedagogy could be embraced to create the same level of awareness among the peers of the class and help students experience a richer content with the appropriate context. Learning together could become more fun when the resource of knowledge is distributed equally. Hence promoting a win-win ambience of knowledge in the classroom.

This is an innovative idea of knowledge sharing and peer learning. The core of a management degree lies in peer learning through class participation wherein students analyse the topic using real life examples. Today’s generation is technology savvy and they spent an average of 4 hours per day on social media. And if this time is utilized for learning without changing the base i.e., social media then that’s the best thing for a student. While scrolling down social websites, we came across so many eye catchy articles, some are important, some are not but still, all those stories are printed in our brain memory. The main reason behind this is brain can memorize anything he is fond of (social media).this exercise is a great start by the professor, it not only help the student to study but also gave them a medium to collaborate all data at one place without using personal storage by playing the hashtag game which I guess our generation loves to play. Faculty and students both can share articles and can discuss on these just by putting a hashtag and even the guy who never spoke in the class can also participate in this discussion. In SPJIMR, our first class is based on how to learn effectively where Dean Sir discussed different ways of learning but I think after reading this post I’m able to see them working practically. In the end, mam raised a question, was the experiment successful? And she answered it “I think so” but in my opinion, the answer should be yes it’s a success. And I’m hoping other faculties too came up with such creative ideas which help us in learning the traditional things in an unconventional way. Thank you, mam, for sharing such an awesome article.

Maintaining a very interactive class environment comes with its own caveats: it is impossible for everyone to participate in a sixty-minute lecture having seventy students and very often it slows down the pace of learning. It is true that an overwhelming majority of students are already very active on social media and they can quickly take to the newer platform as an extension of what is being discussed in the classroom. Since, they’re already using it, they might as well use it for learning. The benefits of incorporating Twitter as a part of the teaching methodology are many. Twitter is also a very effective medium for asking questions. These questions can then be discussed over and answered by peers. These discussions may be overseen by the professor. This way Twitter facilitates as a platform for discussions, peer learning and doubt resolution. It may also help share any new happenings pertinent to the subject and conduct discussions over it. Articles and other sources can be shared. Most importantly, twitter can act as a truly egalitarian means of voicing one’s opinion. Due to time constraints it is impractical to let everyone express his point of view, consequently we miss the opportunity of tapping into these people’s work experience and deriving learning from them. In an age where internet has already altered the way people interact, it inevitable that we start leveraging it to shape the classroom environment.

Thank you ma’am for sharing such a terrific idea. Forging a link between social applications like twitter with academic learning is a great initiative as well as very intriguing. A study conducted by Nokia had found that in the 16 hours awake per day, the average person checks his or her phone a whopping 150 times. Considering the utilization levels, this is a resource that was aptly placed to be tapped. It helps in managing time effectively. At SPJIMR, the pedagogy includes courses that involve sharing of information on Facebook Workplace. The pre-reads and the student comments helps us get an overview of the subject matter. The benefit of using this is that it cuts down on the time that one would have otherwise spent to discuss the same in classrooms. In fact there could be queries that couldn’t be addressed in class due to the paucity of time. One could address these queries on these platforms. It ensures effective participation and gives an opportunity to those who were not able to participate in class. I believe that at the heart of management, lies peer learning and this platform lets students learn from others as well as professors. Generally in a b-school, students belong to diverse fields and their inputs can help others learn. For instance, a way to promote such sort of learning would be through formation of groups on Whatsapp and sharing videos curated by students on topics allotted to them. This way everyone gets to learn in detail about the content. It also helps in understanding the nuances of verbal communication. In addition to this, teachers could ensure that post the cessation class, a student summarises the proceedings of the class in the group. This would additionally help the professor gauge the students understanding. Learning in such a form is a value addition to students and teachers alike. These discussions on social media may even attract the attention of people and thereby helping in strengthening the brand image of the institution. Knowing that one’s content will be visible publicly, he/ she is cautious while writing. In b-schools there are courses that underline the importance of the changing dynamics and the need to adapt to it. The idea of uploading an article in the public domain requires an understanding of one’s surrounding and framing the response accordingly. It is a great learning from a future qualitative requirement perspective. There are challenges to it as well, teachers will have to spend more time analysing the content shared by students, provide feedbacks and then discuss in case of discrepancies. At the initial phase of such design thinking, there is a tendency for participants to not consider the activity with the same vigour as expected. Time and effort would have to be allocated to generate the attention. This, however, can be addressed by designing the curriculum in a way that it seamlessly merges social media within its ambit. Despite all the effort it seems to me that this form of education would be occupying centre stage in the near future.

Thank you, Ma’am, for such an interesting idea. I was stuck at the article as soon as I read the title. The initiative of using Twitter to enhance class participation in the course is commendable. Management graduates of the today’s world spend a large amount of their time on phones and social media websites is a major chunk of it. Hence, using such platforms to increase collaboration among students creates a learning environment. Institutes like SPJIMR are already using Facebook Workplace to collaborate learning among students in their courses. These platforms can be used in a variety of ways to foster an environment of learning like sharing notes, interesting articles on internet, discussions, general queries, opinions etc. These are just the basic ones, there is no limit to creativity by which such platforms can be leveraged better. One key element that makes this whole experience user-friendly is hashtags. Hashtags works like a metadata for users and they can easily search for the relevant content. Is there any limit or issues with platforms like Twitter? The only concern with open platforms like Twitter is that the content shared is accessible by all. So, privacy is something that should be looked upon. This is where private platforms like Facebook for workplace is useful. But yes, it depends upon the kind of usage one intends to make. If it is just link sharing or opinions like in this blog, then it is sufficient to use open platforms like Twitter. There are certain advantages of using platforms like Twitter too, what if such tweets are noticed by outside learners and they collaborate in the learning. There have been numerous instances, in fact, it happens every day on twitter. The scope of collaboration changes and so does learning. Another important aspect that Ma’am you talked about is the way you engaged people to collaborate more, I believe that this is an underlying need for such programs to be successful. There are two stages for it, first, an individual has to start using the platform continuously, and this can happen with online-offline engagement. Next, is creating a culture of Giving and Take, it is not only about reading such posts, contributing to such posts is also necessary for it to be a success. Collaboration is a key to success. In this digital world, platforms like Twitter is extremely useful to share ideas, knowledge beyond classrooms. It helps in providing students, teachers to get a 360 deg. experience learning. Learning which happens in and outside classrooms, learning that is conceptual and practical and learning that is collaborative. We need to be careful about the accessibility of the content we share so that it lies in our interests. Keep learning, keep tweeting!

Thank you ma’am for suggesting one of the interesting ways we can leverage the power of social media platform. I have been using twitter mostly to check the news in the fields of technology and equity market but for me, using 140 characters for my academic purpose is totally a new idea. As we have been utilizing the powerful tool - Workplace powered by Facebook for sharing subject materials, posting our doubts and sharing classroom pictures, it will be compelling to compare the benefits of using twitter versus workplace for classroom participation. Considering twitter, it seems an ideal platform to carry out academic discussion beyond classrooms so as to involve global participation and enriching information on a particular topic. The dominance of hashtags can be exploited as correctly mentioned in the discussion to find the relevant articles, news as well as media information. There are official twitter handles for almost all the news broadcasting channels, multi-national companies of manufacturing, automation, automobile, information technology, e-commerce along with upcoming start-ups which regularly posts latest development going across these industries. This fact gives an edge of using twitter in extensive classroom discussion of an MBA school against any other platform. There are third party tools available in twitter (which is costly or not available in workplace) which can be leveraged with low investment in the area of analysis as well as inviting subject matter expert to a discussion by participants. But are these features enough to draw a conclusion that twitter would enhance the quality of learning among young participants of management programs or should we look for an alternative that not only bring digital affluence but also fulfils the organizational requirements in accordance with the program being offered. That’s where ‘workplace’ takes precedence of choice by the facilitators of institutes due to its immense cross-functional features. It includes discussions by subject-wise groups, no restrictions on number of characters and conversation with your colleague/classmates as well as professors on-board. The reliability factor of Facebook adds into the choice of using its service in the area of educational networking. Almost all of us use Facebook everyday but that is not the case with usage of twitter. According to a research article published by sproutsocial, 74% college graduate uses Facebook whereas only 30% are active on twitter and hence one might need to ask students to activate the twitter account or to start using on the daily basis which makes workplace a better service to opt for. Similarly, the integration of notifications with Gmail accounts is very efficient and easy in workplace over twitter. From this comparative analysis we can see that there is definitely a room for social media platform to enter our classrooms in order to achieve high efficiency as well as to improve the quality of learning. It depends upon the objectives set by institute for learning methodology by social media platforms. One could always argue that it may hinder the actual knowledge gaining process by engaging students to non-educational content but if the benefit of these tools outweighs the cost associated with it then choice and usage of these services according to our needs will make huge impact in this era of digital transformation.

A new innovation on learning technique Dear Madam, first of all I appreciate your way of improving the learning method. I fully agree to your idea of knowledge sharing and learning technique through the social networking site ‘Twitter’. Generally in management schools the students get engage in doing assignments, group works, projects etc after the classes are over. Here along with these assignments the students are also engaged in conversation by sharing the links in twitter to enhance the discussions on some contemporary issues or interesting contents related to the subject.As per madam’s advice the students share the links of some news in twitter . After then madam read up all the articles that are twitted before the start of class and retweet those links thereafter to share the knowledge. Also each day madam refers to those articles at the start of the class to give stress on some points which were discussed in the previous classes which helps to clarify any doubt of the students.So all the students along with their madam prepare themselves with new ideas by reading the articles before coming to the class. So basically with the help of this networking site ‘twitter’ students are engaged in discussion on some contemporary issues which boosts the knowledge level of the students about the happenings in real world related to the subject. It connects the theory with the real world. Although in management classes application of the theory part is explained but it is more essential to discuss any topic for better understanding and strengthening the concepts. So with the help of this teaching method students become able to discuss and understand the existing issues and challenges which finally increases the knowledge level of the students. For example,sometimes it is not possible to understand all the topics discussed during a class . During that condition twitter becomes an important tool to understand the topic or clarify the doubts by discussing with the friends.

A new innovation on learning technique Dear Madam, first of all I appreciate your way of improving the learning method. I fully agree to your idea of knowledge sharing and learning technique through the social networking site ‘Twitter’. Generally in management schools the students get engage in doing assignments, group works, projects etc after the classes are over. Here along with these assignments the students are also engaged in conversation by sharing the links in twitter to enhance the discussions on some contemporary issues or interesting contents related to the subject.As per madam’s advice the students share the links of some news in twitter . After then madam read up all the articles that are twitted before the start of class and retweet those links thereafter to share the knowledge. Also each day madam refers to those articles at the start of the class to give stress on some points which were discussed in the previous classes which helps to clarify any doubt of the students.So all the students along with their madam prepare themselves with new ideas by reading the articles before coming to the class. So basically with the help of this networking site ‘twitter’ students are engaged in discussion on some contemporary issues which boosts the knowledge level of the students about the happenings in real world related to the subject. It connects the theory with the real world. Although in management classes application of the theory part is explained but it is more essential to discuss any topic for better understanding and strengthening the concepts. So with the help of this teaching method students become able to discuss and understand the existing issues and challenges which finally increases the knowledge level of the students. For example,sometimes it is not possible to understand all the topics discussed during a class . During that condition twitter becomes an important tool to understand the topic or clarify the doubts by discussing with the friends.

Dear Madam, first of all I appreciate your way of improving the learning method. I fully agree to your idea of knowledge sharing and learning technique through the social networking site ‘Twitter’. Generally in management schools the students get engage in doing assignments, group works, projects etc after the classes are over. Here along with these assignments the students are also engaged in conversation by sharing the links in twitter to enhance the discussions on some contemporary issues or interesting contents related to the subject.As per madam’s advice the students share the links of some news in twitter . After then madam read up all the articles that are twitted before the start of class and retweet those links thereafter to share the knowledge. Also each day madam refers to those articles at the start of the class to give stress on some points which were discussed in the previous classes which helps to clarify any doubt of the students.So all the students along with their madam prepare themselves with new ideas by reading the articles before coming to the class. So basically with the help of this networking site ‘twitter’ students are engaged in discussion on some contemporary issues which boosts the knowledge level of the students about the happenings in real world related to the subject. It connects the theory with the real world. Although in management classes application of the theory part is explained but it is more essential to discuss any topic for better understanding and strengthening the concepts. So with the help of this teaching method students become able to discuss and understand the existing issues and challenges which finally increases the knowledge level of the students. For example, sometimes it is not possible to understand all the topics discussed during a class . During that condition twitter becomes an important tool to understand the topic or clarify the doubts by discussing with the friends.

The world around us has changed so much due to technology. Being a 90’s kid I have seen the transition of everyone moving from analog to digital life. However, in spite of so much change around us, the classroom experience has remained mostly unchanged. There have been a few changes. The projector has more or less replaced the blackboard, students can submit their assignments online. But the classroom participation experience remains the same. During a class, with limited time, we generally observe that many a times an engaging discussion has to be taken offline in the interest of time. This puts brakes on students ability to not only clear his/her doubts but also question what is being discussed in class. The writer brings forward a very good solution to this problem. Twitter, a microblogging website, which is easily accessible to everyone is perhaps tailor made to take such conversations forward. Assigning a hashtag to a classroom session and allowing students to tweet about their thoughts, questions will indeed bring the classroom experience to the 21st century. Twitter also provides a platform for teachers to weigh in on students thoughts about the classroom in a very healthy and engaging way. Twitter also provides a way to connect with other industry professionals and ask them to weigh in on what is being discussed in the classroom. This will help to add a different dimension to classroom learning experience. Teachers can make use of twitter features like polls to get instant feedback on a particular class or topic being taught. Also, Twitter being a free tool can be implemented successfully by teachers from all schools and colleges to keep students engaged.

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