Digital Content

Day 4: Designing Twitter activities

In this final post for the course, we will share some advanced Twitter skills, and invite you to think through your own use of Twitter for your teaching. We encourage everyone to join the conversation on Twitter itself, which is full of great discussions from ANU and beyond. Check out the conversation!

Level up your Twitter use


Tweetdeck is a platform you can use to view multiple feeds via one interface. Rather than having to manually search for your favourite or most-used feeds (such as your class hashtag), you can save them for easy access and to help you stay on top of the conversation. For ease of following hashtags you should encourage your students and other staff teaching into your Tweet-powered course to use Tweetdeck.

For Twitter’s own guide to using Tweetdeck click here.

A screenshot of Tweetdeck, showing multiple feeds.


Ready for the big leagues? Try a livestream video using Periscope, a live streaming app which was acquired by Twitter in 2015. Livestream videos can be made public, or viewable only to selected users. You could use Periscope to livestream lectures, host a Q&A session with students, share a field trip, or other options. For example, we used Periscope to host a Live Chat with a previous coffee course facilitator. Learn more about how to use Periscope here.

question markDiscussion

Have you ever live-streamed yourself or your teaching? Do you see this as a possible technique you might use? What benefits or challenges might it have?

What are your teaching goals?

We’ve talked in previous coffee courses about the importance of putting pedagogy before technology. In some ways, this course is unusual in that we are focusing on the use of a particular tool rather than a pedagogical approach. Before you apply Twitter in your own teaching, let’s reflect on the particular teaching goals that its use might support.

question markDiscussion

What types of learning outcomes could be supported by the use of social media? It’s often helpful to refer to Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy when thinking about learning outcomes and technology (Read more).

A chart showing Bloom's digital taxonomy.
Infographic credit: Ron Carranza

Another helpful model for thinking about the integration of technology into a course is known as SAMRSubstitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition. What are the affordances of Twitter compared to other ways of meeting a similar learning outcome? Does this tool represent a substitution for another way of completing the same activity, or does it allow for a totally new way of completing the task, a redefinition? (Or something in-between?)

A chart showing the SAMR Model.

question markDiscussion

Where do you think Twitter might fit in an SAMR model, based on how you’d like to use it for your course? Why or why not?

Design a Twitter activity

Taking on board all the discussions and content from the past few days, we encourage you to design an activity for your teaching (or your professional context more widely, if you are not currently teaching) where you use Twitter.

Here are some prompts to guide your thinking. Feel free to include only those that are necessary for you.

  • What is your course or context?
  • What learning outcomes or objectives would you like to meet?
  • How will Twitter support this?
  • What are the relevant policies or guidelines at your institution?
  • How will you support students to use Twitter?
  • How will you manage your time / teacher presence?
  • How will you assess it?
  • Other ideas or comments?

It’s an opportunity to synthesize all the content and discussions from the rest of the course, and we invite you to share your activity with us in the comments or on Twitter using #TWTCoffeeCourse, and provide some constructive suggestions and feedback to your fellow participants. You’re welcome to share as a document, photo, video, series of tweets – whatever suits you!

A team puts their hands together.Join our live chat!

We hope you can join us, Rebecca and Katie, on Twitter on Friday, 11 October 2019 for a live chat at 11am AEST using the hashtag #TWTCoffeeCourse. We’ll be facilitating a live discussion and inviting your responses.

But this is by no means the end of the discussion. One of the great benefits of Twitter is that conversations can continue beyond the scope of this course, so please keep commenting and sharing. Thank you so much for joining us and sharing your ideas, and we look forward to hearing more about your Twitter use for your teaching.

5 thoughts on “Day 4: Designing Twitter activities

  1. I am open to live-streaming lectures, but haven’t tried it yet. For those who have done it, what effect, if any, did live-streaming have on attendance and participation? As ANU is increasingly encouraging interactive learning, I am particularly interested in suggestions on how to simultaneously manage the 2 sets of “present” cohorts – the face-to-face students and the streaming students.

    If I were to adopt Twitter in my teaching, it would probably be at the enhancement level. I think an interesting activity for understanding, applying, and analysing might require students to provide a critical reading summary a la Aciman and Rensin’s Twitterature (

    1. Bhavani, I recall a student asking me if a lecture was being recorded. I said “yes” and immediately a third of the class stood up and walked out. It turned out they had clash and the other lecturer did not record. My solution was to abandon giving lectures ten years ago and move my teaching online. Worrying about lecture attendance in 2019 to me seems about as relevant as the use of fax machines.
      This year I went back to the classroom, and have being offering flipped blended workshops in ANU’s new teaching building. These are not lectures: students study material online, watch videos, and must complete work for marks before the face-to-face workshop. So far these have no live online component. With only a couple of hundred students it is not really with setting up the logistics to support that. I am waiting to see what my honors student comes up with in terms of technology, techniques, and measures of educational effectiveness, to see what might be done with blending the classroom and online.

      1. Hi Tom,

        We don’t do lectures either – however, “lecture” is often a useful shorthand for teaching, especially to larger classes. Our workshops/seminars/lectorials/insert-name-here are extremely interactive, based on the flipped classroom model. Student participation and engagement in the classroom are integral components. In a low-tech offering, students cannot participate and engage if they do not attend. Hence, the focus on attendance, and/or alternatives for making an interactive approach work for 2 simultaneous sets of cohorts. As you go on to mention, this could be feasible with a team. Is it also viable for a single lecturer, and if so, is it worth the effort?

  2. I have live-streamed myself but found it logistically very difficult. It is hard to keep the tech working, address the topic, and keep track of the discussion. You really need a team to help. Also I have doubts about the educational value of live lectures with a face to face class, so streamlining that format is a bit like strapping rockets to a three wheeled car: it is not going to get you were you want to go.

    To fix this I have an honors student researching how to integrate live and recorded video, with chat forums, and live events. My ideal would be a live face-to-face workshop, extended online and over time.

    As for learning outcomes supported by the use of social media, those would be ones related to communication, teamwork, and the like. I don’t think Bloom’s Taxonomy is much use for this, and as for making it “Digital”, see my rocket analogy above. 😉

    I enjoyed the coffee course on Twitter, but still I think the very real dangers to my students from using Twitter in teaching far outweigh potential benefits, so I will not be using it. Also it troubles me that educators would spend so much time discussing one product from one company. By all means discuss the application of text based social media, with Twitter as the current example. There will be other products along to replace Twitter anyway. I remember when Alta Vista was the leading search engine. 😉

    ps: I am a bit confused, we suddenly switched today from discussing Twitter, which is an asynchronous text based medium, to discussing synchronous video lecture streaming.

  3. I’m not sure about the live-streaming of teaching. We already typically provide lecture recordings to the students, so I guess you could view live-streaming as a more interactive version of this. Again I would be concerned about the timing and answering to comments posted while I was lecturing. Perhaps this is something to do if you have a teaching assistant who is monitoring and responding to comments on twitter throughout the lecture so that there is not as much break or distraction of the lecture while addressing the online audience.

    For me, I personally think that there is no need to use twitter as a substitution as there are a whole host of complications it opens up. However, I do think that with the provenance of social media/digital profile/sci com in today’s academia, twitter could allow for a redefinition and creation of new tasks for developing the students’ skills in this area that they will need in their future.

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