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ABC journalist Leigh Sales' first Tweet about New York Times columnist, Tom Friedman

ABC journalist, Leigh Sales’ first Tweet

Dr Antonio Castillo Rojas is a Senior Lecturer & Program Director in print journalism. The prevalence of social media within the field of journalism is huge. Students have picked up on this immediate form of news media. They use Twitter for research in their studies and also follow industry leaders.

Antonio uses both Blackboard and social media in his courses. We discussed how he and his students use the platforms, and the affordances and constraints of each.

In the course, Blackboard is used for the formal aspects of managing learning: discussion boards, blogs, and sharing readings and course resources. Social media is used more informally.  Students use it to conduct research and to understand how the industry is using the platform. Students tweet lectures and follow each other, thereby building a backchannel of information and resources for research in the course.

Affordances of using social media with students include:

  • Links with industry. Students follow journalists whom they admire, are interested in, and can use as a research resource.
  • Antonio supports students by curating who to follow on Twitter in his own feed and suggesting who students might follow.
  • Students are savvy. They choose their sources of information for research and are then required to think about the source and the information’s veracity.
  • Lecture feedback is gathered by Antonio via Twitter. He asks students to summarise his lectures within a tweet. The discipline of writing a sentence in 140 characters is very powerful. These tweets also give Antonio instant feedback. He retweets some of his students’ tweets as a way of giving formative feedback.

Antonio is aware of the university context and is mindful of his responsibilities in using social media in his teaching.

To find out more about how social media is used at RMIT, see social media at RMIT University. You can also read RMIT University’ social media policy.