Over spring break I found out one of my friends at ISU is taking a class in which the professor uses Twitter for the lectures, which are usually filled with hundreds of students.
I was told that the professor allows his students to use their smartphones or laptops to tweet questions during class.
That’s a fantastic idea. First off, in a lecture hall of up to 300 students, we face an endless bombardment of potentially awkward situations. And if you’re an introvert, like me, you don’t want to call much attention to yourself at all, let alone when you’re surrounded by hundreds of strangers. I personally always felt selfish raising my hand in lecture, stopping the entire procedure of class for a single moment of confusion that I probably caused for myself.
I think it would be a great idea for large lectures at NIU to adopt this approach to bigger classroom populations. A professor using Twitter to view a constant feed of questions will undoubtedly make more accurate judgments of what individual students are struggling with. This can be especially useful with math or science classes, where professors have to walk the entire class through the material. After all, teachers are constantly trying to find better ways to connect with students in the classroom, and I think this is one of the answers they’re looking for.
Though some issues with this method might obviously include distracting Internet surfing, I imagine the students who are glued to their phone screens are already doing so regardless of what the class policy is. By professors using Twitter as a resource rather than simply seeing it as a disruption, I think improvement in student-teacher communication and class performance is a very realistic possibility.