Excuse me, Prof. – Can I Twitter that?

I take notes, share those notes, and build a community with my peers – just by using twitter -it’s really quite simple.

This is how I feel about Twitter in the classroom.  But the 9/18/08 article over at Techdirt, and the comments in particular, paints some different hues (see: “Should you live blog/twitter a class?“).

Last weekend I was engulfed in one of three weekend intensive sessions in Michael’s “Library 2.0 & Social Networking Technologies” class.  As he went through his well-honed version of “The Hyperlinked Library”, I thought, “man, it would be cool to capture some of this and my reflections.”  At this point some might be saying, “yes, Kyle, you should be taking notes.”  But I took it one step further.

I hopped on Twitter, signed up for a quick account, and started tweeting(?) my heart out with every thought and quick reflection.  I also linked my tweets straight into my class WordPress MU blog.  Soon enough, a classmate had seen my twitter and we became reflective friends.

But at lunch time I timidly asked Michael, “yea, would you be mad if I Twittered class?”  Those of you who know Michael would know that angry would not be his response to this.  He was more intrigued and interested and happy than anything else.

If you’ve read the Techdirt article you know that this is the complete opposite reaction than that of the NYU journalism professor.  But I will admit, I’m just as guilty as most students who zone off in class and dive into the ether that is Facebook – and I’ve done it in Michael’s class, too (*sorry :/*).  But I turned my lust for technology and social networking into a productive method by writing my reflections in Twitter.  On top of that, I got to know some of my classmates before even saying a “hello” to them.

As Brian Rowe, a commenter in the article, wrote:

Sharing what you learn or don’t learn is an important part of being global citizen and helping free culture

I couldn’t agree more.  But some couldn’t agree less, as in this comment by Vince:

I can’t defend this. I believe this material should not be posted outside of the classroom…this material is not owned by the student.

He continues to say:

Universities usually have some sort of internal CMS such as Blackboard or WebCT that allows them to share classroom material and most professors actively use these systems. Theres [sic] no excuse.

I agree with Vince, students shouldn’t and legally can’t copy their professors’ academic work for public access unless that is their wish.  Michael posts “The Hyperlinked Library” here at TTW, but I still wouldn’t post any other of his materials without permission.

What I’m doing is taking brief reflective notes – similar to how I would do it in a notebook – and providing my classmates with an opportunity to respond to my reflections.

I’m curious:  Any grad students (or any student readers for that matter) who blog or use Twitter in class?

~Kyle Jones~
TTW Contributor

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4 thoughts on “Excuse me, Prof. – Can I Twitter that?”

  1. I take all my classes online so don’t really twitter much about them. But I do twitter meetings and have to say that I’ve had people think I am not paying attention and am texting. It’s really annoying to have someone call you out like that. And I’ve often wondered what would happen in a F2F class. I hope professors know better than to do that now!

  2. This person has protected their updates.

    You need to send a request before you can start following this person.

  3. @Lori-
    I could see how that would be a problem. I guess you just answer them straight, or, if you fear any kind of retribution, just tell them you are taking “notes.” I wouldn’t count on professors knowing better – or at least knowing at all. To a lot of folks these technologies still aren’t what they would consider mainstream. Thanks for the comment!

    @Blake
    They should call you the saver of Fail Whales – because that’s what you did for us on Saturday – thanks again!

  4. Well, I started doing the same thing in Michael’s class at CSC–noticed that Twitter was one of the module assignments, so I decided to sign up to get some impressions early. I instinctively started to jot down ‘notes’ using it, since I knew I was more likely to go back and glance at my tweets than at my notebook. I’m a lot faster at typing than I am at writing, anyway, and I was pretty sure Michael didn’t mind, though I didn’t think to ask. I figured it’s also easier to ‘share’ these kind of ‘notes’ via RSS on my blog with other classmates than it would be to re-type handwritten notes.

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