Posted by: Alison Damast on October 6, 2009
While many business school students and professors have their own personal Twitter feeds, it has not yet become a common classroom tool in MBA programs. But that may be changing, if Babson College Professor P.J. Guinan has her way. She’s teaching a course for Babson’s Fast Track MBA students this fall titled “The IT Enabled Social Business.” The course is based on a single video case study that follows Miranda Guinan, a fictional and larger-than-life CEO of a Boston advertising firm who only communicates assignments to students through social technology tools. To watch a sample of the video, click here. Guinan developed the video by collaborating with Babson’s Curriculum Innovation and Technology Group.
Students ask questions and get help via Twitter; all of their class discussions take place in a wiki format. At the end of the course, they’ll be judged by social media experts on how well they used tools such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to solve some of the advertising firm’s most pressing problems.
Guinan is not the only professor trying to break ground by using Twitter in the classroom. An item in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Wired Campus blog last year mentioned a professor who encouraged students to pass notes during class via Twitter, with the idea that it would make for better classroom interaction. Monica Rankin, a history professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, asked her students last spring to use twitter for assignments, questions and classroom feedback. Using TweetDeck, she then projected a large image of their live tweets in front of the classroom, using them as a springboard for classroom discussion. You can watch a video of how she used it in class here.
Rankin wrote about the experiment on her school Web page:
“Overall, I think the twitter experiment was successful primarily because it encouraged students to engage who otherwise would not. Even in smaller classes, only a small number of students actively participate in class discussions,” she says. “Students knew that their class participation grade would be partially determined by their involvement in these discussions and most of them seemed comfortable with using the technology to engage with the reading materials.”
Readers, should more professors be using Twitter as a classroom learning tool? Do you think it has a place in business school classrooms?