I’ve been using Twitter for class this semester to give reminders or share articles. Some students are more active on Twitter and embraced participation. Others likely have no interest in using Twitter or have another valid reason not to participate. I share reminders and relevant articles on Twitter, so the information is not needed to be successful in class. However, much of the information can be helpful both in class and in future careers. Here is a way to make sure all students are exposed to the Twitter content regardless of use.
In both of my courses I use course specific hashtags, #AESHM287 and #AESHM211x. However, to see the content students have to save the search for the hashtag, follow me and only see the ones I post, or use a service that allows them to stream the content.
In order to better integrate Twitter with my courses, I have placed a live stream of the hashtag content in my learning management system (Blackboard for me, but I imagine most Learning Management Systems have some sort of HTML editor or embed code feature). Here is what it looks like:
This was easier than I expected and here’s how it is done:
1. Go to http://twitter.com/settings/widgets and click Create New widget. NOTE: You must be logged in
2. Choose the Search tab for the timeline source
3. Enter your Search Query as your course hashtag, so for me it would be #AESHM211x
4. Modify your them if you’d like, I left Only Show Top Tweets unchecked as I wanted the full stream
5. Click the Create Widget button
6. Below your Preview, you will see a box with embed coded, Copy this code (see below for an example)
7. In Blackboard, create a new Content Area
8. Within the Content Area, choose Build Content and then select Item
9. Name the item whatever you would like.
10. In the Text box, you’ll need the expanded tools. In my version of Blackboard, you can see these by clicking the double down arrow on the far right.
11. Click the tool labeled HTML.
12. Paste your code from step 6 in this box.
13. Click Update and then Submit
It may take a couple of seconds for the stream to load the first time, but that is all there is to it. I took it a step further and made the Content Area with my course Twitter stream my default page so when students log in it is the first thing they see.
<a class=”twitter-timeline” href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AESHM211x” data-widget-id=”421726218535194624″>Tweets about “#AESHM211x”</a>