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USING TWITTER TO COMMUNICATE CONCISE INFORMATION TO YOUR STUDENTS

A. Guadix, M.C. Almecija, E. Guadix

University of Granada (SPAIN)
Teachers from all levels have exploited the potential of the Internet to build effective communication channels between them and their students. Complete virtual environments, such as Moodle, have been accessible for the creation of multi-purpose learning platforms. In other situations, when the intention of teachers was to provide a supplement to their classroom lectures for the proposal of specific activities (commentary, collaborative work, etc.), tools such as blogs and wikis have received immense acceptance. Fortunately, all this has been facilitated by the availability of web software of easy use and free of charge.
In the last couple of years, the phenomenon of microblogging has appeared as the most successful and unexpected trend in the Internet. The flagship service in this field is Twitter, which was created in 2006 and now receives 55 million visits a month. Twitter allows its users to send short text messages (up to 140 characters), which can be conveniently read by other users belonging to a network of contacts. Furthermore, the nature of Twitter's API has allowed the development of a wide range of third-party applications.
Therefore, Twitter seems to be useful in the case of teachers whose only desire, in terms of web usage, is to let their students know small pieces of news. In this work, we describe the fruitful experience of Twitter in a course of "Unit Operations in the Food Industry" included in the degree of "Food Science and Technology" at the University of Granada. We concluded that those concise messages sufficed to the communication of many events, such as course welcome, headlines of lectures, changes in the schedule, alerts for the availability of new class materials (in the form of files uploaded to a shared folder) and announcements of exams.