My thoughts on live tweeted lecture as assessment item

On 28 March 2012, I conducted a full lecture online using Twitter. It forms part of an assessment item for my first year unit Sport Marketing (unit code #SPM2122) in the Bachelor of Sport, Recreation, and Leisure. It was a mile a minute so to speak and very interactive.

The topics were initially posted on this website and not on the course portal, as I wanted to give everyone (students and the general public) the opportunity to read and research the topics that were going to be discussed. The chosen topics related to aspects of sport marketing that we’ve discussed in lecture over the past five weeks or those that will be discussed in the next week or two. Thus, the subjects that were analysed today were both topical and not too “out there” for my first year cohort.

It was my attempt to also ensure that the topics were both interesting to sport management students and would generate plenty of discussion. The live tweet chat had a similar approach to the group discussion that I ran several weeks ago and blogged about previously. Most students did their tweeting from wherever they were, with about ten joining me in the classroom where I conducted the tweetchat (they were excused from attending the lecture today, but an open invite was made to allow anyone to join me).

I had three questions prepared for each of the five topics to ensure that each subject was discussed for the allocated fifteen minutes. If one question fell flat, I had two back ups to use as well. The discussion response was overwhelming and I had to leave out several questions and an entire topic as the conversations (posting, replying, retweeting) were great.

The questions were:

Q1: Which AFL team will win the Grand Final?, Minor Premiership?, Wooden spoon? #spm2122 (this question was used as an ‘icebreaker’ type question to allow SPM2122 students to answer an easy question to quell any nerves that they may have had)

Q2A: How does Tennis Australia use the interest of #AusOpen to market tennis to wider public and increase overall participation? #SPM2122

Q2B: How can @AustralianOpen continue to engage fans through its smart phone app so fans don’t delete app once #AusOpen is over? #SPM2122

Q3A: Can the brand (not team) Gold Coast United (#GCU) be saved? #SPM2122

Q3B: What can #GCU (as an organisation) do to engage itself into the Gold Coast community to win fans? If anything at all? #SPM2122

Q3C: Will #SAVEGCU have any effect on #FFA & #ALeague decision? Give reasons

Q4A: The #NBA recently announced an exploration into jersey (uniform) sponsorships. From marketing perspective, what are your thoughts? #SPM2122

Q4B: Could a jersey sponsorship detract from the team’s brand (ie @manutd_fc or @WestCoastEagles vs @chicagobulls or Indiana @Pacers)? #SPM2122

Q4B: How can a team’s sponsor use social media to leverage its sponsorship of the team (i.e. SGIO using SM of @WestCoastEagles)? #SPM2122 (I mistakenly didn’t add the C to this, students did not seem to be confused by my mistake – everything happens so quickly during these live tweet sessions that spelling mistakes are inevitable).

Overall, there were 1097 total tweets in about one hour and thirty minutes. I’m still going through the data to see how many total users there were. The transcript is available here

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive from the students, who seemed to really enjoy the interaction and the different method of conducting discussion while also learning a bit more on how to use social media to engage and foster debate instead of using social media for the banality/vanity of life. The one negative view that students indicated was the speed at which the chat happened (relating to the speed of tweeting) and they had trouble keeping up. This feedback was expected as tweetchats can be daunting when doing it for the first time (this is the reason for doing it twice).

One of the interesting aspects of the results was that a major sporting team the AFL’s West Coast Eagles was tagged in a question (see above) and they replied and participated in the discussion. This would never happen in a normal group discussion setting, as the Eagle’s wouldn’t know that they were being discussed. I was very happy that they got on board this tweetchat and engaged my sport marketing students as it showed the power and the reach of social media in contemporary society. Since the tweetchat today, I’ve engaged the team to participate in the next discussion.

A surprise outcome of this tweetchat is that I’ve received a message from a Learning Designer from ECU’s Centre for Learning and Development, who wants to speak to me about what I’ve done today.

Last, due to the sheer number of tweets, the #SPM2122 hashtag trended in Perth (TOP 5) (

Now, you may be asking yourself why did he do this? Here’s the answer:

Goals for students: It was my endeavour to teach university students to use social media as an engagement tool rather than for the banity/vanity of everyday life. As previously posted, “students usually have a wealth of practical knowledge from engaging with social media for personal use, the aim of this exercise was to provide a theoretical understanding about how to successfully use social media to foster” engagement within the wider community. I thought that an assessment task using social media would be a way in which I could ensure 100% buy-in by students as the Tweetchat would form part of my SPM2122 Sport Marketing’s marks.

Goals for me: I am very curious as to whether using social media in class (both “in” class and as a classroom tool) increases the students’ engagement with the course material. To answer this, I’ll be asking students for their feedback at the end of the semester and compare to the other unit which I teach. I realise that this is an imperfect method of collecting data and not statistically valid, however, it’s a starting point from which I can work. I’m only looking for anecdotal evidence at this stage.

I’ll update this blog as I get my head around what happened this morning, as it was my first time hosting a tweetchat.