Day 9: Chatting & teaching


Today we’re looking at:

  • live chats on Twitter
  • organizing our own #UofT10DoT Day 10 live chat – don’t forget, it’s tomorrow (April 28), at 2:30 – we’ll go ahead even though there will be just a few of us
  • teaching with Twitter

Live chats

A live chat on Twitter (aka a Twitter chat or tweet chat) is a conversation which takes place synchronously, in real time. A live chat may of course break out spontaneously, but the term more often refers to an organized affair, with moderators or leaders and a pre-set time, topic and hashtag. It may be a one-off or a regularly held “meeting.” The moderators generally use questions or prompts (typically four or five) to get the conversation rolling, and may ask the group for suggestions beforehand.  Here are two examples of regularly scheduled chats:

  • MedEdChat – it takes place on Thursdays, so you could see it in action tonight if interested
  • #withaPhD – “for graduate students, academics, and anyone else who has or may wish to have PhD experience.”

Livechats can be fast and furious, but a great way to discuss, make new contacts (and get followers) and share experiences. A key rule to remember is use the hashtag–otherwise your contributions to the conversation will be invisible except to your followers (yes, this seems obvious but it’s easy to forget in the rush to reply). After the fact, the chat is often Storified, with the link tweeted out so anyone interested can catch up with what was discussed. Here’s an #acwri chat on writing journal articles. Of January’s #DLNchat [Digital Learning Network] on building cultures of experimentation in higher ed.

When you arrive in the chat, say hello (unless you want to lurk – not applicable to the #UofT10Dot chat, though). If you’re chatting with strangers, you may be asked to introduce yourself, say a few words about who you are, where you’re from (in an academic conversation, often your institution) and/or why you’re there. The moderators will ask the questions one at a time and allow the group to respond.

How do you find out about live chats? Moderators promote Twitter chats in advance, so you may find them through your regular Twitter feed or through particular hashtags. You can try searching on “Twitter chat” in the Twitter search bar, though you will likely have to wade through a lot of irrelevant material. And of course, you can always ask!


#UofT10Dot live chat: April 28, 2:30

  • Moderators: @EvelineLH (tweeting on @UofT10DoT) & @JesseCarliner
  • Questions: do you have any questions you’d like us to discuss as a group? Please tweet your suggestions. We’ll post the questions in the Day 10 blogpost and again during the live chat.

Further reading

Twitter chats – why are they useful and how do they benefit academic staff

Top #Twitter chat tips for academics

… and Twitter chats can be a site for research!

Teaching with Twitter

You’ve now all experienced taking a workshop and learning via Twitter. We’d love to hear what you thought of the experience–possibly in the live chat? We’ll also do a follow-up survey.

If you think you might want to use Twitter in your own teaching,  there are some suggestions to inform and inspire you below. However, remember this caution, discussed on Day 1:


Tweeting in higher education: Best practices (EDUCAUSE)


Gradhacker: 7 Things I Learned from Teaching with Twitter

Teaching examples

MOOC MOOC: Critical pedagogy – uses weekly live chats (#moocmooc)

The Twitter essay – includes the prof’s instructions to the class (the prof in this case wants students to make their entire argument in 140 characters).

Twitter in the Classroom: Early African History – ”How did it go? What did I learn?”

Teaching with Twitter: How the social network can contribute to learning – “The important question to ask regarding e-learning is: What does an online space make possible by way of teaching that my class couldn’t do face-to-face?”

Figuring out the link between Social Media and What I do as a Biology Prof

This led to the instructor developing a real-time chat activity on Twitter, called The “Future of Ecosystems” Twitter Chat

English 503: The Twitter Assignment – students tweet questions and ideas on readings, characters, plot development, in an English class




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