I chose to read “Tweeting the Night Away: Using Twitter to Enhance Social Presence.” The article discussed the social connections that are made between students and teachers and how the connections enhance the amount of knowledge that a student will gain from making the formal/informal social connections that face-to-face students often achieve with course instructors.
The study specifically looked at Twitter interaction within one group of voluntary students. The students were asked to “follow” fellow classmates, instructors, and two-to-three field professionals.
Each student was asked to log onto twitter three times per day for two weeks. After this initial period, if the students did not feel like the tweeting was beneficial to their education, they could stop the usage.
A majority of the students that stayed on the website noted positive results at the end of the semester and said that it helped them to build an online, social connection with fellow students and professors.
I think that using Twitter as a communication medium for online students is innovative; however, I personally do not think that it would be difficult for me to utilize for questions. Anytime I am trying to clarify information from my professors, I am usually looking for more detailed responses and specific questions—perhaps something that cannot be stated in 140 characters.
I can see how utilizing Twitter can be beneficial for social interaction/awareness of other student’s activity, but I don’t think that it is as discussion oriented as a blog or lengthier posting forums.
I think the utilization of Twitter in an online section is a quick, easy way to connect students, but I also think that the effectiveness is dependent on the demographics and needs of the users/group; for example, online students are looking for a way to create social connections with other students and professors who have restricted availability hours might turn towards tweeting as a means of fast and effective communication.