Can Twitter be used as an educational tool?

A paper recently published online in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning (JCAL) has generated lively discussion on how the educational use of Twitter can affect college student engagement and grades. The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades by R Junco, G Heiberger and E Loken was published in November last year. The paper ‘provides experimental evidence that Twitter can be used as an educational tool to help engage students and to mobilise faculty into a more active and participatory role’ (quoted from the abstract).

However, a JCAL reader, Dr Ellen Murphy, has raised some interesting issues about the paper, particularly about the language that is used to describe cause and effect, in a letter she wrote to the JCAL Editor, Charles Crook. Rather than being published in JCAL itself, we think the debate and correspondence between the authors, Dr Murphy and the JCAL Editor is better aired via this blog.

Read:

Charles Crook (Editor, JCAL)

JCAL Editor’s response
Letter to the Editor in response to The effect of Twitter on  college student engagement and grades (E. Murphy)

This letter was submitted with a view to publication in the journal.  Our advice on submissions does include the possibility of such correspondence.  However, in my 8-year tenure as Editor, this is the first time I have had to consider that possibility.  Moreover, ‘letters’ seem scarce items across the whole history of the journal.  On the other hand, it is certainly Continue reading “Can Twitter be used as an educational tool?”

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Advice for Philosophy Graduates

Alexander
Alexander the Great: Philosophy Student

Recent UK graduates will no doubt have been disheartened to read that there are currently 70 graduates to every job that’s out there.

Anna Miller recently wrote on these pages about the challenges facing philosophy graduates and suggested a number of ways in which they might ‘de-stress’.

As a philosophy graduate, I think Anna is guilty of perpetuating a number of pernicious stereotypes about philosophy students in her article, and I mean to set the record straight. Rant continues here…

Interview: Science Fiction and Philosophy – From Time Travel to Superintelligence

Susan Schneider is an assistant professor of philosophy (University of Pennsylvania), and the author of Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence. As well having an avid interest in science fiction since her college days, she is now a faculty member in UPenn’s Center for Neuroscience and Society, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN) and the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science (IRCS). In this interview, Susan talks about why her students respond so well to the use of science fiction to illustrate philosophical ideas, and why she finds the crossover so fertile.

Philosopher’s Eye: Why did you decide to write Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence?

Susan Schneider: I was teaching a class called “Science Fiction and Philosophy” that used science fiction films and writings as a route into philosophical puzzles involving the nature of the self and the nature of ultimate reality. For example, I assigned Isaac Asimov’s robots stories Continue reading “Interview: Science Fiction and Philosophy – From Time Travel to Superintelligence”