June 5, 2015

"Twitter should not be mandatory. Twitter shouldn’t be a part of your grade."

"[The professor’s] ridiculous obsession with Twitter and bringing it into the classroom is unacceptable — it does not enhance learning, it is just her pushing her obsession on the rest of us."

29 comments:

mccullough said...

I stopped reading her essay after 140 characters

Larry J said...

Every now and then, I go to Twitchy to see what is being discussed. Twitter makes me weep for the future of humanity. Perhaps Twitter needs something like this classic xkcd webcomic regarding YouTube comments.

madAsHell said...

When did Twitter replace the classroom??

I tried reading the article, but after three paragraphs I could see it was going nowhere. There was too much people-just-don't-understand-me.

Henry said...

"Some people gave my idea bad marks. Those people are unhelpful."

Henry said...

OTOH, it is a film and media class. If it was a remote learning class the students would be forced to communicate via some kludgy custom interface. Twitter has to be better than that.

Ann Althouse said...

Students don't want their transitory writing up on line where it might hurt them as they move forward in their careers. Trying to appeal to a teacher, who has the power to grade you (and thereby affect your career), would suggest one type of post, but your long-term interests suggest something else (including something so unknowable that you might want to err on the side of not publishing).

Bay Area Guy said...

Hard to read the DePaul professor's gripe - the phrase "clueless pedant" comes to mind.

Jane the Actuary said...

There are other ways of creating an online discussion forum -- private discussion boards where you can reply to specific ideas, post your own, write longer paragraphs, etc. There was no reason to require twitter to accomplish her goals; it was the lazy approach rather than finding one of these other options, which my son's middle school teacher used effectively.

And her reaction of "I'm right, and refuse to contemplate other alternatives" was unworthy of being published, even online.

MadisonMan said...

So, a professor reads all these negative, sarcastic comments and thinks they're unhelpful.

Two things leap to mind:

She is not a parent of teens, or of adults in their early 20s. These kids are being polite by being sarcastic. (And most of them aren't on twitter very often any more).

She doesn't like the message she's heard, so she denigrates the remarks.

I think of Twitter as a newsfeed for particular people/topics. It's great for one-way motion of information.

MadisonMan said...

Students don't want their transitory writing up on line where it might hurt them as they move forward in their careers

I was talking to my just-out-of-College (Yay!) daughter yesterday, and she laments that no one uses their names on their accounts anymore (so it's hard to stalk them). The reason? So employers can't find them on facebook (still used to photoshare, but that's about it)/twitter/what-have-you.

PatHMV said...

That her solution was to discourage people who didn't share her own predilections and preferences from taking her class speaks volumes. She wants to be part of an echo chamber, a group of like-minded folks all happily agreeing with her in 140 characters or less.

She labels as "unhelpful" two evaluations complaining that Twitter forces students to "dumb down" their language, encouraging less-than-deep analysis. I tend to agree with that assessment of Twitter. However, I do see some slight potential for pedagogical use in teaching students to be more concise with their thoughts, to find a way to communicate more deeply with fewer words.

But she clearly doesn't have that end in mind. If she did, then her revised course introduction would have taken time to explain the goal of the Twitter requirement, rather than to force out of her class students who don't share her love for lackadaisical thinking.

rehajm said...

Aside from being occasionally amusing, those comments are mostly unhelpful.

Constructive criticism- You are failing to recognize there is information of value to be gleaned from such comments.

Alex said...

Another one of those "liberal arts" courses. Fortunately math and science students don't have to put up with this shit. Not that Ann understands anything about math or science.

clint said...


Inspiring students to leave the class still talking about the course material over lunch is a good thing, nay a great one. Grading them on their out-of-class discussion on social media seems stalkerish and creepy.

The professor (in the article, not our hostess) wants to seem hip by embracing a technology that cool kids were using last decade. (Hint: Your students were all in elementary school when Twitter was a new thing. Making them use it doesn't make you seem young and hip.)

It's a course on watching movies. Each student is paying $4,383.88 to attend the course and learn how to watch movies.(*) With 120 students enrolled in the lecture, the University is raking in $526,065 to have the professor discuss how to watch and enjoy movies. Something most children in this country seem skilled at.

So much wrong here, which no doubt is why the professor (our hostess, not in the article) chose this to post.

(*) Assuming the year's tuition gets them four courses in each of two semesters.

Cog said...

Reading her essay, I got the uneasy feeling this professor seeks to promote uniformity of (politically correct) thought by forcing her students to expose online their opinions on hot-button topics. I wonder what would a young traditional Catholic say online about Bill Maher's Religious? Or a young Evangelical about "considering problematic representations of gender in American Gigolo"?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I didn't read anything but I liked the bluebirds.

tim in vermont said...

It is important for each student to publicly declare their positions on gender politics! Let a thousand flowers bloom!

tim in vermont said...

At the university nowadays, it seems like the Stalin quote is back in style. "Show me the *man* and I will show you the crime."

Imagine if I said that on twitter in that twit's class.

Mary Beth (the commenter) said...

Trying to have a discussion via Twitter is like trying to have a conversation using bumper stickers.

Beldar said...

Twitter is a medium whose distinguishing feature is its categorical truncation of every communication, regardless of content or complexity, in 140 characters.

Concision is a virtue. Mindlessly enforced concision is doomed to limited utility and ultimately to irrelevance. Twitter will be gone by 2020, maybe by 2018.

T J Sawyer said...

I can understand the concern about leaving twitter tracks for a future employer:
"You tweeted, 'Brad Pitt is a twit.'"
"So I must ask you now to just quit."

Alex said...

Twitter is #9 on Alexa rankings. They are in no danger of dying anytime soon.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Henry said...

If it was a remote learning class the students would be forced to communicate via some kludgy custom interface. Twitter has to be better than that.

I'm in Georgia Tech's OMSCS program. They use piazza, which is much better than twitter for such discussions.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

rehajm said...

Constructive criticism- You are failing to recognize there is information of value to be gleaned from such comments.

That's not helpful.

*ducks*

Anonymous said...

Basketball players can tweet. If Marshall is not teaching her students how to string together good declarative sentences into cogent paragraphs(as she apparently & ironically can), then she is wasting their time. In every college (liberal arts)lesson, there should be an English lesson. Interesting, as her students seem to know this better than she does. The comments she says are 'unhelpful' are quite the opposite.

n.n said...

An interesting social experiment would be to mitigate censorship through authentication (i.e. uniquely identifying marks, including names, aliases). Perhaps salt the comments to reduce content and style correlation. I wonder how that would affect conversations, and if it would even be possible to process conversations based on independently presented ideas alone.

readering said...

I also find it hard to follow conversations on twitter. She should have her class use a better social media tool, with greater privacy.

Paddy O said...

What I got out of the article: "I didn't explain my assignment very well, why I was doing or what purpose it served, thus leaving students to figure it out and they complained about the assignment."

I have a course where I require students to blog, start a blog I say. I explain why and what I'm looking for. They start a blog, blog for a semester on a weekly reading responses with personal reflection.

The course was getting criticized for low enrollment, except for my sections, which get packed out.

If you use a tool, explain your use of it, involve the students in the pedagogy.

Twitter can be a very interesting tool for a lot of ways, once students know what to expect, what is required, they go along with it. A confusing assignment with confusing expectations always leads to complaints.

Zach said...

The "unhelpful" comments are on-topic, clear, and forceful. I particularly liked this one:

“[Dr. Marshall’s] ridiculous obsession with Twitter and bringing it into the classroom is unacceptable — it does not enhance learning, it is just her pushing her obsession on the rest of us.”

The "helpful" comments are just pussyfooting around the same point.

Even Roger Ebert once started a review with "I hated, hated, hated this movie."