I’m trying something new this quick with one of my classes. We’re going to have an extended twitter chat. I’ve used twitter chats before in my Masters classes. However, in those cases we met for 30-45 minutes at an assigned time and had a discussion using a set of questions I developed in advanced. I might have five or six questions (which were always posted in advance for the students to review), and I was in charge of asking them. We’d spend 5-7 minutes on a question on average.
This semester, I’ve been tossing out semi-secret challenges to my students and offering them points in return for completing them. These challenges are not on the syllabus so it’s really a way to earn additional points. I created The Hidden Page on the course wiki. For each new “hidden” event, I make a page with the directions that links off the main Hidden Page. I tweet out new challenges about once a week. If you’re not paying attention to the feed, you’ll likely miss it! These bonus challenges are not discussed in class.
What is the Extended Twitter Chat?
The extended twitter chat is my take on an (approximately) week long discussion using twitter. It happens over a period of six days. Each day, I release one question at 8:00 am (I use twuffer which allows me to schedule the tweets. highly recommend). Now, on Day 1 all there is to discuss is that one question. However, on Day 2, you can continue to discuss the first question, discuss the second question, or both. While I am releasing a new question each day, we are really just adding questions to the pile of what we can draw on to form a discussion.
I kinda like the structure of this better than my previous approach. Sure, some questions in my extended approach might get ignored but I am ok with that. I have to be. I set up the directions that allow that to be a very real possibility.
I’m writing this post just four hours into the release of the first question. I’ve only had two students tweet so far. I have no idea if this will be a success of not, but keep in mind it is not required, and I do not do too much to promote it. I am curious as to how this would go if it was on the syllabus as an actual assignment.
As a plus, I will say that while writing this post I was able to share an article with one of the tweeters that I thought was relevant to her tweet. She (I assume) read it, or at least gave it a good skim, and tweeted a reply about it back to me. So this has the potential to expose students to other readings/video/etc…and engage in discussions around them.
Here are the directions that I gave the students:
1. Begins Wednesday, 2/10 at 8:00 am
2. Ends on Monday, 2/15 at 6:00 pm (no responses counted after 6:00 pm)
3. For each day – 2/10, 2/11, 2/12, 2/13, 2/14, and 2/15 – a question will go live for discussion at 8:00 am
4. Each question will be labeled Q1, Q2, etc…
5. When you respond, start the tweet with A1 (if responding to Q1), A2 (if responding to Q2) and so on.
6. While a new question will be added each day, you can discuss any question for as long as you like. Just connect it back with A1, A2, and so on
7. Hashtag is: #[course number] chat; you can use additional tags if you desire (not required)
8. All questions will be released using #[course number] chat
XP will work like this:
|Total Days Participated||Tweets Per Day||XP|
|Participate 1 Day|
|Up to 3||100 per tweet|
|4-8||150 per tweet|
|9-15||200 per tweet|
|Participate 2 Days|
|Up to 3||150 per tweet|
|4-8||200 per tweet|
|9-15||300 per tweet|
|Participate 3 Days|
|Up to 3||200 per tweet|
|4-8||250 per tweet|
|9-15||400 per tweet|
|Participate 4 Days|
|Up to 3||250 per tweet|
|4-8||300 per tweet|
|9-15||500 per tweet|
|Participate 5 Days|
|Up to 3||300 per tweet|
|4-8||400 per tweet|
|9-15||600 per tweet|
|Participate 6 Days|
|Up to 3||400 per tweet|
|4-8||600 per tweet|
|9-15||800 per tweet|
Participate all six days, earn a minimum of 4, 200 XP, and get a 5000 XP bonus.
Note on XP: Here’s how it’s scored (Example) – Let’s say you participate on one day. On that day, you tweet 10 times. The first three tweets are worth 100 a piece 4-8 are 150 each, and 9-10 are 200 each. You would earn a total of 1,750 XP in this example. Your account will be credited after the week has ended.
Some Final Notes
Students can come in and out of the discussion at any time. For example, someone could participate on Day 1 and then a second time on Day 5. That person would get points that aligns with what is allowed on Day 1 and Day 2. I’m rereading my directions, and they seem a bit unclear to me now. I could see how someone could think that if you participate all six days that you would be scored entirely on Day 6 standards. That’s not the case. The idea is that you get more points on Day 2 than on Day 1 and so on down the line.
Our course has a # that we use (it’s the course number). I didn’t want this discussion going on that channel so I asked them to add “chat” at the end. This is useful for a few reasons:
- very easy to credit. if it’s not on the #course number chat then no credit
- it’s meant to be it’s own separate discussion off of the regular course twitter thread
I do still have students who are using the regular twitter course thread. And students can participate in both threads and get points for doing so – but they are separate entities and are treated as such in terms of grading.
I do think I would maintain a separate hashtag even if this were a required event. I am finding having a hashtag for the course to be useful in and of itself. Having a separate # for discussions like this one keeps things clean. In some ways, I think this has the potential to be better than a standard twitter chat!