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Digital Pedagogy Lab Courses: Teaching with Twitter

 Published on September 14, 2015 /  Written by /  “Nodes” by Steve Johnson; CC BY 2.0 /  0

Pedagogy is not reducible to 140 characters. Pedagogy is, in fact, not reducible. However, it can (and does) happen in spaces as small as 140 characters. Pedagogy looks to the larger philosophical implications of teaching, but begins at the level of practice in the smallest maneuvers — the smallest gestures. What we ask to be called. Where we sit in a classroom. The online platforms we decide to use. The first word of our syllabus. A single tweet.

I signed up for a Twitter account in 2007, shortly after the platform launched, but for years I didn’t occupy the platform personally, but only as a tool for teaching. I started by using the platform once or twice a semester for an assignment I call “The Twitter Essay,” which remains one of the most successful activities I’ve done with students. I since experimented with other ways to integrate Twitter into my face-to-face, hybrid, and fully online teaching.

Starting in just under a week, I’ll be teaching a short, intensive online course focused on Teaching with Twitter. The course is part of a series of professional development opportunities emerging from the educational outreach work of the Hybrid Pedagogy 501(c)(3) non-profit. The courses in this series are small with reduced rates offered for adjuncts and students.

Teaching with Twitter will introduce educators to approaches for using the Twitter platform in classroom teaching, online teaching, hybrid teaching, and for educational outreach. The goal will not be to become masters of the platform — although we’ll pick up critical literacies along the way — but to think about the ways the Twitter platform can be leveraged in our pedagogies. We’ll also consider the ethical implications of working in public, and the ethical implications of asking students to work in public.

Over the three weeks of the course, we will do meta-level work within Twitter itself and will also reflect on the platform in discussion inside our Canvas course. We’ll cover: how to hone our Twitter presence, how to craft tweets, how (or whether) to write social media policies for syllabi, how to lead Twitter discussions, how to create assignments using Twitter, and how to assess work on Twitter.

While the course is officially two weeks long, my hope is that we’ll build a network we can turn to as we continue to think about how to engage fellow teachers and students via social media.

Some reading I’m recommending folks do in advance of the course:

There will be additional reading for the course (and lots that’s optional, if you’re looking for more rabbit holes to fall down). The above pieces set the stage, asking many of the questions that have motivated my own turn toward the topic. Also, for a guide to getting started with Twitter that you’re welcome to use for yourself or adapt for your students, visit

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