As I mentioned about a month ago, along with experimenting with mobile learning in my course this summer, I also decided to test out HootCourse. HootCourse is a Twitter tool that allows you to create courses, invite students, and automatically adds a hashtag for your course. Like other Twitter tools, it performs a search based on the hashtag and keeps those tweets inside “your course.” In my testing, I was able to post inside HootCourse successfully, and I was able to post inside Tweetdeck and Twitterific if I added my course’s hashtag. Over at the “Free Technology for Teachers” blog, Thomas, one of the developers for HootCourse, explains in the comments a little more about the public v. private versions of HootCourse.
You can see in the screen shots below, that my course hashtag was #idt7064. Hootcourse automatically added this. I had to add this inside Tweetdeck (on my desktop) and Twitterific (on my iPod Touch and iPad). Because Hootcourse is automatically adding the hashtag, it goes ahead and subtracts the number of characters in your hashtag from your 140-limit for Twitter.
I really liked being able to retweet posts and share these with my students directly from Tweetdeck and Twitterific. In addition to being able to tweet inside HootCourse, you can also write longer posts — beyond the 140-word-limit — and these will post to a blog. With only a small amount of difficulty and a quick email out to support, I was able to connect my HootCourse account to my own WordPress (Viral-Notebook) instead of the suggested WordPress.com account. (I also found out from the tech support that this feature had been enabled by one of the developers, but the other didn’t know it. 😉 ) So, longer posts can go into my blog and then tweeted. In Derek Bruff’s blog you can see where he did just this (and explains a number of features too), and this is a test post that I used as well. I found that I didn’t use this feature very much for my online course that I was teaching. But, I’m interested to figure out whether I might do this in a standard 15-week course with a little more forethought and planning.
The last feature that I’m interested in trying out connects nicely to Dr. Rankin’s Twitter experiment in her large class. This is a classroom version of Twitter for face-to-face discussions. In essence, it’s creating a backchannel for your classroom. You can see from the screenshot below that HootCourse sort of strips down everything and makes the posts large so you could project these during a lecture of classroom discussion. I didn’t use this feature in my online course, but I’m interested in trying this with some face-t0-face courses to see how it might work.
There are a number of folks testing out HootCourse right now, but I haven’t seen many reviews or posts of actual implementations. So, I hope some folks come out with those. Are you using HootCourse? How’s it going? Are you doing it online or face-t0-face or both?