Canvas: Embed a Twitter Widget into your Course Home Page

We had several faculty doing this in D2L, and I’m pleased to say that it’s MUCH easier in Canvas.

Canvas: Embed a Twitter Widget onto the Home Page

1. From your course, select “Settings,” and then “Apps.”

Twitter 1Twitter 2

2. Locate “Twitter” on the list, and select it.Twitter 33. Choose to “Add Tool.” It will install the tool into your course.  Then, go back to the “Home Page,” and choose to “Edit” the page.

Twitter 4Twitter 5Twitter 64. From the “Rich Content Editor,” select the “V” drop down. Then choose “Twitter.” A dialogue box will appear. This will allow you to either insert a widget that tracks an individual Twitter account (@____) OR a hashtag (#).

Twitter 7Twitter 8Twitter 95. Once selected, choose “Preview,” and then “Embed.” This will embed the widget into the home page. “Save” the homepage, and that’s it !

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Social Media Usage Among College Students

I recently ran across an article entitled “Are College-Bound Students Leaving Social Media.” Basically, this article details what social media sites college students are most frequently using.

I think that their might be a fallacy among educators/administrators in how student social media usage is viewed. I think the long held belief is that FaceBook reigns “king”, and can serve as a one stop shop for reaching our students. I believe that notion worked in the 2010 world, where other social media sites failed to keep up. However, as this article details, we have a scattered landscape, and our students are moving from site to site as quickly as these sites pop up.

The Details:

FaceBook is QUICKLY loosing popularity among college students.

This article says that only 67% (2/3rd) of  students are actively using FB. This is down 12% YOY, and, in my opinion, will only continue to drop.

Why the sudden drop ?

Well, as my students put it, FB is no longer “cool” (*I know—not very “professional” sounding or scientific). So, why the sudden drop in “coolness.” Well, for starters, about 3/4 of their parents are now on FB, 1/2 of which joined specifically to, and I’m quoting an actual survey, “Keep tabs on their kids.

What is replacing FB ?

Many are arguing that Twitter is the new FB. Twitter usage has surged in the past few years, and now 1 in 3 college students are actively using the site. I’d expect this number to continue rising.

What is the next big thing ?

The next “big thing,” is clearly Instagram. In the first year on the survey, Instagram now has 15% of college students. This is a very strong entrance, and I’d expect this to also continue to rise.

What does this mean for faculty/administrators?

Well, this is a bit more tricky. Faculty who like to keep up with their students may see the need to try out Twitter/Instagram. Also, those who actively use social media as a part of their courses may need to change what sites are used.

It’d difficult to predict what will come next, however, If I were to predict the future, I’d say that the idea of one social media site “ruling them all” is long gone. I think students will continue to migrate to niche sites (i.e. Instagram) as quickly as these sites pop up.


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My Trepidation with Technology (a post by Geri Brandt, Assistant Professor Criminal Justice and Criminology)

Looking back at my childhood, I remember when my family bought our first television set that displayed programs in ‘color’ during the mid-1960s. Of course as a child, I thought this was the epitome of cool. Little did I know then that my father was heavily embedded in technology. Well, I should say what was considered technology during the 1960s and 70s.

Uncle Robert was another family member who was a visionary. He was an active member of MENSA, loved computers, technology, and worked for McDonnell Douglas as an aerospace engineer. The monitor of his first personal computer was as big as a Volkswagen, but he would take the time when I would visit to show me everything the first ‘home’ computer could accomplish.

If only they were here now to witness the advances of technology and how heavily entrenched our culture appears to be with ‘staying connected’ by way of social media. So connected that gangs, drug dealers and International terrorists are using social media to brag about their activities.

Recently, after a horrific mass shooting at a popular shopping mall in Kenya, the terrorists ‘tweeted’ their explanations and motives for the mass murder. Another example of using social media to exploit criminal activity was a recent photograph of the pop singer Rihanna holding a Loris, which happens to be an endangered primate indigenous to Southwest Asia. By Rihanna taking the ‘selfie’ photo with Instagram and posting it to Twitter, the owners of the nightclub in Thailand are being questioned by the local Bangkok officials.

From a tube television to a hand-held device, this is an electronic-minded soul’s dream. A device that holds your personal thoughts (or placing them on a platform for the world to view), gives you directions when lost, can provide the steps to baking the perfect soufflé, find answers to homework problems, and is very capable of sharing criminal activities and aiding in demands of terrorists. Welcome to the twenty-first century.

Although I am an academic, and must keep up with the fluidity of my environment, I have been resisting using Twitter. I personally do not care where Justine Timberlake is dining on a Thursday, nor Harry Reed’s thoughts regarding the debt ceiling, but I do care about being on the same playing field as my students (who have NO IDEA what a tube television could possibly be). So I recently embarked on joining Twitter and with the help of my criminal justice students, intend on setting-up a Twitter account to ‘tweet’ about the latest news regarding laws, criminality and the social responses to criminal events. I look at the computer and imagine the infinite possibilities of technology but also self-transparency. Baby steps.

– By Geri Brandt, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology

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Don’t know a thing about Twitter?

This fall, we are planning on starting weekly twitter chats to discuss ed tech tips and tricks in the spirit of collaboration and sharing from our distributed locations. I found a great info-graphic which details 10 tips for creating better tweet at Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. While the graphic covers more of the stylistic things to keep in mind when tweeting, it doesn’t really cover much about content.

What’s amazing to me is the number of people who have started using twitter, for better or for worse. At this point in 2013, data is showing that growth of new accounts on twitter has started to slow, but the engagement that users are finding on the platform is increasing. So, if you aren’t on Facebook and Twitter, using vine and Pinterest, where are you?

I think one of the most important things to think about when posting tweets is to remember that your username and tweets become your “brand.” Know your audience and what would be interesting to them. If you aren’t marketing a product or a service, maybe you are marketing a healthy lifestyle or a world free of war. Keep your tweets in that theme. Be yourself and certainly don’t be afraid to make mistakes and poke fun at yourself- don’t be a robot! Lastly, if you are not ready to sell yourself and your ideas, then maybe the whole twitter thing is not for you. In twitter we trust…

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Twitter in the Classroom

With the abundance of social media sites, like Twitter, it becomes difficult to think of realistic ways to incorporate them into the classroom. Some would even wonder, “should we use Twitter in the classroom?” OR even “How would I use it ?”

Well, I can’t answer if YOU should (although I think it can be an effective tool), I can, however, tell you HOW to use Twitter in the classroom. Hopefully this helps you to see if Twitter can fit your needs !

Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom: (courtesy of “50 ways to use Twitter in the Classroom“)

1. Tweet about upcoming due dates or assignments

2. Chat with industry professionals

3. Facilitate research (many professionals tweet links to articles)

4. Analyze cause and effect by tracking Twitter trends

5. Connect with the/a community

6. Live tweet from an event (ex. field trip, excursion, speaker series…etc).

7. Follow a hashtag (ex. #Finance, #EdTech, #HigherEd,…#insert your field here)

8. Coordinate assignments, group work, class announcements….etc.

9. Connect with students around the globe

10. Tweet URLS to supplemental materials


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