One Law Prof’s Experience Using Twitter in the Classroom

May 4th, 2011

Dave Fagundes has a lengthy post describing his experience with a Twitter account at PrawfsBlawg. Here are 5 of his thoughts:

1.  Maintaining a good Twitter feed requires constant, though not incessant, attention.  If you want the account to be taken seriously as a source of information, it’s probably necessary to post at least every several days, and probably more often.  But it’s possible to overdo it by posting so many tweets that they tend to overwhelm your followers’ feeds.

2.  It may be a good idea to operate separate accounts, one for colleagues and one for students (or just one or the other accounts).  I’m planning on doing this next year, largely so my colleagues don’t have to be subjected to countless tweets about changes to assignments and additional office hours.

3.  At least until Twitter becomes ubiquitous (if it ever does), it’s probably necessary to have the account unlocked, at least if you want it to be a source of information for students.  Not every student has a Twitter account, and if yours is locked, they’ll have to start an account themselves to follow your feed.  By contrast, if you leave it open, they can just go to your publicly available Twitter page website, and this is no more onerous (and in fact easier) than visiting TWEN.

4.  Related, Twitter can be a nice complement to course websites such as TWEN.  I often post tweets to notify my students that new information (recent .ppt slides, revised syllabus) is available on TWEN.  This is not something I’d want to send an email about, but does seem appropriate in the relatively less invasive context of a tweet.

5.  Use conventions are fascinating and tricky.  Negotiating the 140 character limit while still making a coherent point is challenging, and I realize style is not substance, but I still can’t quite bring myself to post in full-on Twitterspeak (e.g., “u” for “you,” etc.).  I’m all for trying to use new media in creative ways, but in this respect, anyway, I’m old-fashioned.