Tech Tools

HootCourse - Twitter/Blog for your module

HootCourse is an application that enables you to create a twitter stream and blog posts exclusively for a particular class group on the module you are teaching. 

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You will need a Twitter or Facebook account before you can create a HootCourse as you will need to log into HootCourse with your Twitter or Facebook account.

Twitter only allows short microblogs of 140 characters which are called Hoots with this application  (as oppoosed to tweets inside Twitter). The beauty of this HootCourse application is that you and your students can write longer blog posts and HootCourse will automatically create a blog with these long posts so that your 140 Hoot carries the URL link to it.

When you create your HootCourse, you will need to give your course(module) a name eg.  ENN101 and a hastag eg. #S1Eng. The application will automatically add the hastag to the end of your Hoot. 

To invite your students into the HootCourse you have created, you will need to provide them with the unique URL for your HootCourse (the application provides this to you when you invite your students either by email or give them the URL verbally in class). They will need to have a Twitter or Facebook account to join your HootCourse. You are able to keep your HootCourse stream of Hoots private and only for those students with whom you share this URL, by selecting that option when you create the course. This will prevent outsiders from adding to your stream of Hoots/Tweets.

This application would work well for a number of learning purposes. You could keep it going for the duration of the semester and have students log in (using the URL) from their laptops in class to post their thoughts on a topic of discussion in class thus giving each student a voice. In addition you could pose a key question to the class and then have them post responses to that question through 140 character Hoots for a short period as a learning activity in class or give them a reading to study and get them to post Hoots on that reading as an out-of-class activity before the next lecture session. You can then project the stream of Hoots in class and talk to their comments on the reading to build student knowledge and construct understanding on a new material/concept. Alternatively, students could post their questions as Hoots that other students can respond to and you could use that for further class discussion. In addition you could set a task for outside class time in which each student would need to write a 50 or 100 word reflective piece on the work being taught using your HootCourse. This will reflect as a short Hoot but contain the URL to that longer blog post which you and the other students can return to for review and further discussion purposes. These are just a few ideas and I am sure that as you try it you will find others ways to use it to support student engagement and learning. It is important that you too participate in the Hoot stream by posting comments or responses yourself. Students do much better when they see a teacher presence in online learning spaces. Be sure to set some ground rules with these backchannels - correct English and comments limited to the nature of the module (important for students to understand that this is not an informal social playground with their friends but rather a formal learning community and thus appropraite comments and language to be used).

Check out this video tutorial to see how to get started and use HootCourse to engage your students on the module you teach.

  • Basil Papgeorge

    Posted at 2012-06-25 15:49:37

    This also looks like an awesome alternative for the Ops team - as opposed to SMS'ing students!

    Reply to comment

  • John Ballam

    Posted at 2012-06-25 15:45:58

    This really excites me for this semester for my critical thinking students.

    Reply to comment

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