My twitter assignment for my econometrics classes has garnered a bit of attention over the last few weeks. As we had our first assignment, reading Charles Wheelan‘s Naked Statistics, along with the regular assignments, my students interacted with each other,
@MichaelGBloom I hear a JANETer is coming to clean up the economy #econhumor #lafecon213— (@MGobeille) February 1, 2014
with Lafayette College communications and library accounts,
@ekfletch showing us that @LafLib has a whole page devoted to our class online.. always nice to have #lafecon213 http://t.co/whFx1PIRzC— (@KelsyWrong) January 30, 2014
with Alison Byerly, president of Lafayette College,
@KaytCherns @ekfletch Sounds interesting- look forward to seeing what the class is up to — Alison Byerly (@alisonbyerly) February 3, 2014
with some of my colleagues, and even with Stata. My favorite post of the week came when a student tweeted at me to ask whether a follow from Stata earned him extra points.
Being followed by @Stata. @ekfletch I think I should get some points for this.
— (@saessafo) January 29, 2014
I’ll let you guess what the answer was.
Lafayette College has a social media working group, a relatively informal gathering of social media practitioners on campus, who asked me and another professor to come by and give a short presentation on how we were using twitter in the classroom. Last semester, Chris Phillips had students live-tweet his seminar on Moby Dick, while my assignments are mostly out of class, at least at this point.
A few days later, a colleague tweeted an article on a new psychology paper showing that students process information better, and get more nuance, when they take longhand notes as opposed to typing verbatim a professor’s lecture. While this justifies my reluctance to give out class notes, it also got me thinking about whether live-tweeting would be more like longhand notes or like typing notes. One of the participants in our twitter in the classroom discussion asked Chris whether the students who live-tweeted did better or worse than the others. He didn’t feel he could really make a statement either way (he already knew one of the students, not to mention the statistical power issue with a small sample size), but it’s a question worth asking. Assuming we take the study at face value, does the power of note-taking come with the physical process of writing out letters? Or is there something particularly damaging about typing verbatim that limits processing? And which process does live-tweeting, where you are typing, but have to process and condense information fairly quickly, mimic more closely?