Twitter Can Help You Become a Better Educator—Really

Published August 7, 2015

By Scott Bates

In 2009, I joined Twitter as a consumer. I followed stuff that I wanted to see consistently. I found it to be a great way to reduce the fire hose of the Internet to a garden hose. I follow users that make me laugh, make me think, or just provide a running‐log of a Seattle Mariners game that I can't see for myself (which is most of them!). At the time, I never really generated much content of my own, mind you—I was a Twitter lurker, a consumer of tweets.

Then, I began working on a new edition of Methods in Behavioral Research with my coauthor and collaborator, Paul Chris Cozby (or, more informally: Chris), and I started to view Twitter in an entirely new light. Chris and I began to talk about the the enormous amount of content we had generated and the utility of pushing some of our material to the public—in bite-sized nuggets. And @CozbyBates was born.

The purpose is to share content any methods instructor would find useful and valuable:

  • interesting studies to use in classroom demonstrations;
  • conversations about teaching methods;
  • chapter‐specific resources;

and anything else we think our colleagues could find useful.

Still not convinced? Let's explore an example: often, an ethics course begins and ends with a conversation about historical ethics (e.g., Milgram, Tuskegee), but why? There are dozens of fascinating ethical dilemmas that playing out in the world right now! (e.g., Montana IRB‐free studies of political behavior). Ethics, like all good content, should be living, breathing, and alive. Twitter can help instructors bring the material to life.

We certainly know that our Twitter feeds help us bring our newest edition of Methods in Behavioral Research to life.

When we decided to launch @CozbyBates, another thing occurred to me. The role of the textbook author is changing. On one hand, the textbook industry is disrupted; on the other hand, authors write textbooks about the courses that they love. In short, we think that Twitter is going to be wonderful way to provide resources to faculty, and students, who use the text.

Beyond that—and potentially more importantly—Twitter will serve as a feedback engine for us as we continue to revise the text. If students, instructors, and researchers are able to tweet at us, the incremental changes to the text will become more and more valuable.

Twitter, of course, is a social network. The more we see and share, the better. So here is our promise: We are dedicated to becoming a resource for methods instructors and students everywhere. We hope that you come along for the ride!

The latest edition of Methods in Behavioral Research launched last fall, and continues to guide students toward success by helping them study smarter and more efficiently. In tandem with LearnSmart®, McGraw-Hill Education's adaptive and personalized learning program, Cozby and Bates provide helpful pedagogy, rich examples, and a clear voice in their approach to methodological decision-making. Learn more here!