Monday, November 14, 2011

A Twitter University? Yes! from Sweden but available to the World!

Yet another new use of Twitter to deliver mini-lectures to the Twitter community.  The first lecture will happen tomorrow at 8PM London time, by delivered by Rachel Armstrong.
Most of us already know about the paradigm shift that Twitter has become.  It has helped revolutions in other countries.  It has provided a medium for immediate and concise notifications of important events and opinions.  But tomorrow will be a world first.  Twitter will be used to deliver a lecture by Dr. Rachel Armstrong.

We have written before with admiration on the work of Dr. Armstrong in "living" architecture and the future of bionic cities.  But in this article we shall concentrate on this new and promising means of delivering information through Twitter.

This idea for a Twitter university was conceived by Marcus  Nilsson (aka@ozonist on Twitter).  How did he come by this idea?  He explains
One of the intriguing people I greediously collect in my Twitter feed linked to a TED Talks video about the field of research he was engaged in. At the same time, in another window on my desktop, I was preparing a series of tweets to present an idea of mine. I had tried this practice several times before, with some success – meaning: sparking discussions and occasionaly resulting in RT:s (that’s what we twitterers live for, isn’t it?).
So how would a lecture like this work on Twitter?  Nilsson explains this also.  The lecture would comprised 25 concise tweets (of course of no more longer length than 140 characters). The point of these tweets is to inspire retweets, response tweets, and general Twitter discussion.  To us, already the idea sounds wonderful.  Many have complained in the past of long winded lectures by academics who are not good presenters (even though they may be great innovators and thinkers).  Twitter forces people to be as concise as possible.  Thus, in a lecture, Twitter will force the presenter to get to the core of the thesis.

But there are other rules for these Twitter lectures.  Any answer tweets do not count toward the 25 maximum tweets permitted to the lecturer.  Nilsson further elucidates:
Each tweet must be broken naturally—no ugly enjambement! That is, a sentence, clause or phrase may not overflow arbitrarily into several tweets. That’s not to say each and every tweet has to end with a full stop — follow the spirit and not the letter of the rule and be creative!
The 25 tweets may be sent out one after the other without the taking of questions, but this is not recommended by Nilsson.  He states, might be more interesting if you exploit the fact that Twitter is a conversational medium: adding pauses and answering questions as you go breathes life into your lecture, and since answers don’t count towards your total 25 tweets, answering questions from the audience can give you a few extra tweets to develop your idea in further detail.
 The coming events will be announced on the hashtag @SvTwuni with 5 items of information:
  1. The title of the presentation
  2. The tweeter's name and Twitter handle
  3. The Associated hashtag
  4. The Time and date when the presentation starts
  5. On the blog only (for example: will appear hyperlinks for further reading.  Nilsson feels that the hyperlinks in the 25 tweets would make the lecture harder to follow.
For this first lecture by Rachel Armstrong on 11/14/11 at 8PM GMT, 3PM EST, one should know the hashtag for the lecture.  In this case it is #STU01, is what one searches for in Twitter.  Nilsson gives a good explanation of how to follow and participate in the lecture using both a browser and a Twitter-client (like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite), which are free to download and install.
You just open in your browser to follow the presentation. Then go to the homepage in another browser window, and perform a Twitter-search for the associated hashtag (for example #STU01). Arrange the browser windows next to each other for maximum overview of the event. Everything will be updated in more or less realtime. 
Or you can put the @SvTwuni-flow in one column and the associated hashtag-flow in another one next to it, if you got a Twitter-client like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.
You do not need a Twitter account to be able to follow the lecture.  But if one wishes to participate, a Twitter account will be needed.  We think this Twitter University is a great idea.  We wish them luck! 

1 comment:

Conrado Gaytan said...

Very interesting concept to globalize the education,..