Class Participation goes Online

While at ISB one of the things that kept troubling me was class participation, popularly known as CP. While I did speak up occasionally, more often than not I would end up around average in CP evaluation. This was true for all the courses that had CP.

It might have been completely different had something been as popular back then as it is today. Twitter.

Class participation online

Currently there is a course being held at ISB on social media, analytics and online marketing (@tarun_davda is my class mate from the class of 2009). And through out the class today discussions were held on Twitter using the #isbsm hashtag. While the number of participants might appear less, it is the idea that I find fascinating. In a typical class at ISB the awesome diversity of the batch anyway contributes to great discussion. But bring that discussion to Twitter and you have real time learning through comments from people in the industry and other experts. Further enriching the discussion.

While that might not have happened today, it is surely going to happen in the future. Great way to involve social media in the learning process in real time.

The other important point this highlights is the power of Twitter as a information network. You can easily participate in useful discussions on the site with people who are not on your social graph. If Twitter could devise a way to cut out on the spam and improve the experience of browsing through tweets with specific hashtags (such as better nesting, hashtag hierarchies), I can see this system replacing discussion forums in the future. (This could be the topic for a separate blog post.)

How else can social media be used to infuse real-time value to education?

4 Responses

  1. Tarun Davda
    Tarun Davda at ·

    Suman, you make a great point…we tried this out first time yesterday and while the participation was low, it was still a good start. As more people understand the value of this, they will jump aboard. some stuff we are planning to do to increase participation

    1) display the live twitter feed on the class projector so that everyone can see their and other’s tweets
    2) explain how hastag’s work, not everyone understood this concept
    3) encourage students to carry laptops to class – large majority didnt have theirs yesterday
    4) if nothing else works, assign CP points for this new-age CP :)

    1. Suman
      Suman at ·

      Tarun, Had this been Facebook I am sure you would have had better traction :) Twitter is still a relatively new medium in India. I was following the discussion yesterday and was thinking of participating, but then it is difficult while at work.

      But this is definitely a fascinating way to engage and teach social media. I am sure the points you highlight will make this a more engaging affair in future classes. Except the last one maybe :D Way to go and all the best for the next session.

  2. Irshad Daftari
    Irshad Daftari at ·

    I don’t know if you’re aware of what Forbes India was doing online… real-time interviews on Twitter with Chetan Bhagat, Rajiv Bajaj, Mehmood Khan and tons of others.

    To be honest, the concept (and class discussion) is not something that’s uniquely applicable for Soc-Med (for instance you could do a live webchat!), but it sure is an innovative use of it!

    1. Suman
      Suman at ·

      Irshad, Real-time interviews are nothing new. I know of them. Rediff has been having them for quite some time now.

      I agree that we do not need Twitter to do it and that web-chat would suffice. But there is one reason why Twitter wins over web-chat. On Twitter you can not only invite people to join but also allow people to discover the discussions. Which in turn allows it to spread. And participants need not be part of the same social graph. The only problem is the problem of spam since you cannot really curate a Twitter discussion.

      Baby steps this, but in the right direction.

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