7 reasons why you should encourage your students to tweet your lectures

December 12, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: Home, JEM 200, journalism, journalism education, reporting, web journalism, writing.

Your journalism students should be tweeting your lectures.

Twitter is a modern form of information distribution that students should understand and know how to use. It has grown so much in popularity and use that it has become the source of first resort in breaking news. No journalism student can escape Twitter. Nor should he or she want to.

Journalism instructors should embrace and encouraging students. They should do so by having them tweet their lectures.

Here are some good reasons for doing that:

— It focuses students on the lecture and makes them listen. When they tweet, their thoughts need to be summed up into less than 140 characters. They have to write short, but they must also make sense.

— Students, when they tweet, are writing for an audience (fellow students and beyond) who will be reading and making a judgment on what they’ve written. What better training is there for a journalist.

— Students can read the tweets of fellow students and will see how others are reporting the same event.

— Students can conduct a dialogue with other students — a conversation that help them understand what is being discussed.

— The conversation can be self-correcting. If students make a mistake with one of their tweets, another student can offer correction.

— You and your students will have a permanent record of the notes of the lecture. As instructors, you should save the tweets and read them carefully. You might be surprised by what you learn from them.

— Your students can practice writing in real time, as an event happens. Course lectures offer the perfect opportunity.

For several years I have encouraged students to tweet my week JEM 200 lectures. I plan on strengthening that encouragement during the Spring 2014 semester. If you would like to join that conversation — or just lurk, as they say in social media lingo — you are welcome to do so. The lecture meets at 5:05 p.m. (Eastern) on Thursdays. The hashtag we use is #jem200. I plan to post a live Twitter stream on the home page of  JPROF.com, so you can look in from this site if you like. We’d love to have you join us.

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